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Constitution Day event to focus on ‘right to bear arms’

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – The Second Amendment and the right to bear arms will be discussed by three Monmouth College political science professors to commemorate this year’s Constitution Day.

Titled “The ‘State’ of the 2nd Amendment: Guns, Federalism and the Constitution,” the discussion will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall. It is free and open to the public.

A federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, Constitution Day is formally observed on Sept. 17, the date in 1787 when delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

At the Monmouth event, professors Jessica Vivian, Mike Nelson and Andre Audette will offer background about how to interpret and apply the Second Amendment, including how it fits into U.S. constitutional theory, how the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue, how policies differ among states, and how U.S. gun laws compare to laws in other countries.

After the presentation, the floor will be opened for discussion and questions.

The Second Amendment reads: “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.”

“The topic of the Second Amendment is a persistent issue in American politics,” said Audette. “Citizens of the United States own more guns than in any other country around the world. Many of those guns are used for hunting, sport or protection, but we are all familiar with the tragic events of gun violence in our country.”

Audette noted that this year the Supreme Court will take up its first gun rights case in more than a decade (New York State Rifle and Gun Association v. City of New York), which will offer states and cities guidance on the types of gun control policies they can implement.

“As judges and politicians debate gun control and the freedom to own weapons in the U.S., now it is more important than ever to understand this complex constitutional issue,” he said.