Guns & the 2nd Amendment: A Fresh Perspective

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  –Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Ever since the tragic killing of 17 people by a gunman last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I’ve been thinking about not just the lives lost and their family members, but I’ve also been considering the words found in the Second Amendment.

I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who was the Republican nominee for the 74th House of Delegates district in 2015, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who was raised in the hunting community of Rockingham County, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who is a teacher who, with 24 students, has been on lockdown over a potential gun threat which had over 70 law enforcement officers respond to their school, and, finally, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who sought an NRA endorsement when running for office.

In addition to supporting the 2nd Amendment I also support the following:

1. Expanding mental health services to those who display signs of violence. Once someone has been identified though due process removing their right to own a gun.

2. Once a person has been deemed mentally incompetent to bear arms have a a due process procedure of rehabilitation prior to them being able to purchase a gun again.

3. Having a database for those who are not allowed to have a gun, such as the mentally ill, felons, and terrorists and requiring anyone buying a gun to have their name checked against the database and prohibiting anyone who is on the database from purchasing any gun.

4. Outlawing weapons that can shoot hundreds of rounds in the span of a few minute. 10-15 bullets per magazine is reasonable.

5. Have students in middle school learn about guns and gun safety. I took a hunter safety class in my middle school health class.

6. Providing resources to every school in America to have a uniformed School Resource Officer.

7. Increasing the age from 18 to 21 to buy a rifle.

There are a few aspects about this gun debate that I do not support, among them, arming teachers. As a teacher I think this idea is not thought out and misinformed by those who have no idea what goes on in a school on a daily basis. Teachers have a tremendous amount going on inside their school and classroom on a daily basis and having to think through a situation of whether or not to use their gun should not be an additional duty.

As a Technology Education teacher, I teach about the changes of technology over time. Our Founders could not fathom what the current power, pace, and velocity of arms could have been in 2018. When our 2nd Amendment was written it took a well-trained soldier about two or three times a minute to load and fire a smoothbore musket. So as we look at the 2nd Amendment, we must examine it through that lens.

As I stated before I ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, while I lost that election, one day I want to run again for public office. As a Republican, what I have just written may cost me being the nominee of our party; however, it’s imperative that we do what’s right not what is politically beneficial.

We have seen 20 out of the top 24 mass shootings, in terms of deaths, in this country since 1990. Common sense would dictate that something is wrong and that something needs to be fixed. The people are calling for action to save lives and prevent more murders of people.

There are many things that I support alongside the 2nd Amendment. However, inaction by our leaders is something I do not support and it is not acceptable. The majority of our country is demanding meaningful change and action. If our elected leaders do not act and make meaningful change in our gun laws, they will suffer at the ballot box.

Matt Walton is the former Republican nominee for the 74th House of Delegates and is a member of the Henrico County Republican Committee. Matt is a high school technology & engineering education teacher and is heavily involved in local, state, and national politics. You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt4Va.