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Constitution Day Continued… Second Amendment Opinions!

 
 

The Trinity community has strong opinions on the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States!  Continuing our observance of Constitution Day, below are the answers to our straw poll concerning the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms.  This question received more comments than any other!

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — Second Amendment

Right to Bear Arms

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 25% 16% 11% 48%
CAS STUDENTS 29% 24% 5% 41%
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
30% 4% 13% 52%
FACULTY/STAFF 18% 21% 12% 49%

CAS students commented:

  • “The right to bear arms needs to change because times have changed. When the right first came
    around, that was back when people get the bullet and put gun powder in before firing. But
    nowadays with semiautomatic rifles and AK47 with several rounds it’s very dangerous and things
    need to change.”
  • “I believe the 2nd amendment, while very important to people’s rights, needs to be changed. The 2nd
    amendment was created in order for the people in the 13 colonies to protect themselves was
    something to happen, for example the British attacked. This doesn’t mean I am saying to take
    away the right to bear arms completely. I believe that people should have the right to bear arms
    AFTER going through a thorough background check and psychiatric tests. It’s okay to give people
    the right to own arms as long as we’re safe about it.”
  • “The right to bear arms needs updating to today’s standards. Guns have definitely come a long way
    since when the constitution was originally written, and we can not treat them the same way,
    because a lot has changed since then. Too many tragedies have occurred that could have been
    prevented if there were more strict rules and regulations put in place for the safety of our citizens.”
  • “2nd amendment needs to changed and updated to the modern society we live in now, not the
    1700’s.”

Professional Students Commented:

  • “Right to bear arms should be clarified. My understanding is that this legal right was conceived to
    protect our country from invaders – not to be aggressive toward our neighbors.”
  • “Ideally, we should rewrite the 2nd amendment more clearly to reflect the framers’ intent that the
    right to bear arms be limited to members of a “well regulated militia.” Alternatively, the Supreme
    Court could revisit to issue to provide such clarity.”
  • “Our gun laws should be updated. Why are military style weapons sold to everyday citizens. Military
    weapons are for war. Regular citizens can protect themselves without those type of weapons.
    There needs to be a federal law for background checks and a waiting period of at least 30 day.
    Each state having its own laws in my opinion make it easier for legal guns to fall into the wrong
    hands.”
  • “The right to bear arms is being abused and has caused more harm than good especially as it relates to the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida.”
  • “The right to bear arms should be protected at all costs, but also implement large-scale security
    measures and background checks nationwide for those wishing to bear arms. Anyone with a
    violent mental-illness should not be able to purchase a firearm, period. Those who have been
    convicted of any crime should also not be able to purchase a firearm, I’m referring to simply any
    crime, not just violent crime. If you’re irresponsible enough to get arrested for a crime, you aren’t
    responsible enough for a firearm. One of the other things is that nobody on a federal watch list or
    no fly list should be able to buy a gun, how that is even still possible I have no idea, but somehow
    it is.”
  • “Second Amendment needs to emphasis that the right to bear arms should be used against sworn
    enemies not fellow citizens.”

And Faculty and Staff had these comments:

  • “The right to bear arms originally pertained to the militia, but it has been blown far out of proportion. While it may be appropriate for a citizen to own a gun, we must definitely address the gargantuan problem of random shootings across the country. We must also consider a ban on firearms designed to kill large numbers of people–citizens don’t need uzis, for example. The NRA can have its hunting rifles, but it must recognize the lethal nature of other types of firearms and not support them. These are but a very few of the ideas that can shape an overhaul of this amendment.”
  • “I feel very strongly that the Second Amendment has to change. It is unacceptable and morally
    wrong to continue to allow shootings, murder, weapons of destruction to be shielded by the
    second amendment. Too many lives are being lost because lawmakers are being complicit with
    the NRA in allowing greed and power to control their actions.”
  • “Sen. Chris Hayes (D-CT) articulates well the goal of establishing restrictions on gun possessions
    and ownership by citizens who are a danger to society. Purchasing guns should have stronger
    restrictions, and the sale of certain guns (semi-automatics) should be outlawed. Guns should be
    restricted from churches and places of worship as well as schools and hospitals, indeed, every
    place where people gather.. Connecticut’s experience of the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012
    — with 20 first graders and 6 teachers/ administrators shot and killed by 20 y/o Adam Lanza–
    teaches us that guns are far too easily acquired and tragically used. Numerous subsequent school
    and public shootings in our country attest to the need for updated gun laws in our Constitution.
    Limits to the NRA are needed. Let’s tackle this social ill sooner than later.”
  • “Firearm ownership needs to be included in an easily-accessible database. There needs to be a
    waiting period of at least one week before someone can purchase a firearm in order to check their
    mental health and criminal history. No one under the age of 18 should be allowed to own a
    handgun.”
  • “Re: second amendment, when the Bill of Rights was drafted, the right to bear arms was brought
    about in a different context than what Americans are faced with right now. The amendment should
    become more limited in scope or even completely removed. Other first-world countries (e.g.,
    Japan, Australia, Canada) have no such rights and their murder/suicide/death by guns are
    insignificant.”
  • “We need to update the Right to Bear Arms…the founders were talking about muskets not
    AK47s…not everyone should be allowed to carry…there have been too many mass shootings
    because of how easy it is for anyone to get a gun…this country lost its soul after the slaughter of
    those [children] at Sandy Hook Elementary and we failed to pass reasonable gun control laws…”
  • “The Bill of Rights was created in response to historical state abuses, and all rights are important,
    necessary, and relevant – except the 2nd amendment. No one needs an Uzi, an assault weapon, a
    silencer, etc., for protection. The amendment should be adjusted to exclude weapons of mass
    killing and should be more directive about the circumstances in which the right to bear arms is
    acceptable – ie, there should be gun control, not a free for all.”
  • “I believe the second amendment is important, but I think it is misinterpreted by most gun rights
    advocates. It guarantees the right to a “well regulated militia,” which was more relevant and
    important at the time it was written. It was a right intended for “the people,” not for each person as
    an individual. We need better gun regulations (the amendment clearly says “well regulated”!).
    More guns in the hands of more individuals will not make us safer.”
  • “The Second Amendment made sense in 1789, when it was proposed, after all, we had just
    founded a brand new nation in response to what we considered tyranny. But there was no way for
    the founders of this country to know just what kind of weaponry would eventually be developed
    and deployed, not just in war, but in our own streets. The Second Amendment needs to be
    revisited and revised in SOME way.”
  • “The Second Amendment should be removed altogether.”

Below are the aggregate responses to the other questions we asked about parts of the Bill of Rights:

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — 4th Amendment

Protection Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 90% 10% 0 0
CAS STUDENTS 76% 24% 0 0
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
96% 4% 0 0
FACULTY/STAFF 94% 6% 0 0

 

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — 6th Amendment

Right to Speedy Trial by Jury

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 82% 9% 0 9%
CAS STUDENTS 71% 24% 0 6%
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
96% 4% 0 0
FACULTY/STAFF 82% 9% 0 9%
  • Faculty/Staff comment: “Interestingly, the Sixth Amendment is mentioned above, but in order to address the concerns of the Sixth Amendment, the 13th Amendment [abolishing slavery] is also of paramount concern. The mass incarceration system in the US is, by design, a loophole by which blatant slavery still exists today. In a prison strike that spanned 17 states over the last two weeks, incarcerated people and prison staff used sit-ins and slowed work performance to protest the dehumanization, slave wages, and unyielding violence that plague the prison system. Every citizen should have the right to a fair trial and trial by a jury of peers, however, change must begin with the erasure of a system that supports hyper
    criminalization of minorities, and vastly neglects the rights of minority citizens. Said change, begins with revision of the 13th Amendment.”
  • Professional Student comment:  “The Sixth Amendment has not been applied equally to all who encounter the judicial system and unfortunately if one lacks the resources to obtain a good attorney it’s nearly impossible to hair a fair and speedy trial.”

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — 8th Amendment

Protection from Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 94% 6% 0 0
CAS STUDENTS 100% 0 0 0
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
91% 4% 0 5%
FACULTY/STAFF 94% 6% 0 0

 

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — 14th Amendment

Right to Due Process

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 91% 9% 0 0
CAS STUDENTS 76% 24% 0 0
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
96% 4% 0 0
FACULTY/STAFF 91% 9% 0 0

 

#1:  What do you think of the Bill of Rights — 14th Amendment

Right to Equal Protection of Laws

Very Important
Moderately Important
Not Important
Needs to Change
ALL ANSWERS 97% 2% 0 1%
CAS STUDENTS 100% 0 0 0
PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
96% 0 0 4%
FACULTY/STAFF 97% 3% 0 0
  • Faculty/Staff comment:  “As for the Fourteenth Amendment (and several others listed I might add) I am simply not seeing this as it relates to the many occurrences of doing “anything while black” and frankly I continue to be saddened by this every day since I too have experienced what having this current administration has done to many communities of color.”

NEXT:  Answers to the questions about the Supreme Court and other changes to the Constitution.  Thanks for your very interesting and robust replies!

If you want to be part of the conversation please join with your comments in the comment box below.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: president@trinitydc.edu