From Facebook: What Are Your Thoughts On The Second Amendment?

On Facebook Laura asked:

So this just came up in a group I follow that there are only democratic candidates in Bethlehem so this individual doesn’t vote… one of the important issues to this group as a whole is 2nd ammendment rights…what are your views on 2A with your run for mayor?

To answer that I think it’s a good idea to look into exactly what the Second Amendment says.

The Second Amendment states:

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.

OK, so what’s a militia?

The United States Militia Code states:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Based on the way the militia code is written, I believe that the spirit of it is to say that our militia is comprised of formal military groups like the National Guard and Naval Militia as well as “everyone else.” The Bill of Rights was created to protect the rights of individuals, and since everyone is essentially a member of the militia, I believe that the spirit of the Second Amendment is to say that every individual has the right to bear arms.

A gun is dangerous if you aren’t trained on how to use one, but driving a car is also dangerous if you aren’t taught how to drive. I believe that every citizen has the right to be a responsible gun owner and that the Second Amendment should be defended as we defend all other civil liberties.

4 thoughts on “From Facebook: What Are Your Thoughts On The Second Amendment?

  1. Todd, this is a disappointingly narrow answer to the question, “what are your views on 2A with your run for mayor?” The safe approach is to examine the legal basis for the 2nd Amendment, then endorse it. But as a candidate for mayor of a good-sized city, the question becomes: What are the implications in 2A discussions for *your* city? The 2A only became popular when gun advocates started using it to oppose all restrictions on gun ownership, including reasonable background checks to prevent gun purchases by violent criminals and those whose mental illness makes them dangerous to themselves or others. What’s your position on that legislation, and what it means to be a “responsible gun owner”? Before you answer, I urge you to talk to the Bethlehem Police Chief or another high-level officer in that department who knows what irresponsible gun ownership looks like on the streets and in the homes of the city.

    • I took some time to investigate your question and after doing so it’s my understanding that we seldom have a problem with responsible gun owners and that much of the irresponsibility comes from illegally possessed guns, not irresponsible ownership.

      When dealing with illegally possessed guns the Bethlehem Police Department enforces our existing gun laws without reservation and works with other agencies, such as the Pennsylvania State Police in enforcing illegal straw purchases from several gun dealers in Bethlehem. The department is notified whenever there is an issue with an attempted purchase that is not in compliance with state or federal law. These cases are investigated and arrests are made.

      In addition to dealing with illegally possessed guns, the Bethlehem Police Department also aggressively pursues any person who uses a firearm in any way that is not in accordance with the law, including threats and intimidation. They also work with the Sheriff’s offices in both Lehigh and Northampton County whenever a person with a license to carry a firearm uses or threatens to use that firearm in an irresponsible manner. When it becomes aware of irresponsible gun ownership the police department has been very active in having permits revoked.

      I support the efforts of our police department in its enforcement efforts and will continue to do so. I also believe that the efforts taken by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns should be commended and that we should continue to advocate for making background checks mandatory in all venues and to make it easier for mental health records to be accessed for the purpose of firearm purchase and right to carry permit applications.

      Thanks for asking such an important question and continuing the conversation about making our city better.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to formulate this thoughtful answer, Todd. I will post it on my Facebook. Since you bring up Mayors Against Illegal Guns, will you pledge to join the group if elected, as have most Lehigh Valley Mayors, including Callahan, Pawlowski, and Panto?

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