The Great Gun Debate

Nothing gets the blood pumping faster than a good old fashion debate over the Second Amendment. Considering we are on the verge of entering into that every four year cycle of political craziness called “election season” you can bet that someone...

 United States v. Huet, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123597 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 22, 2010) – Here is an interesting one.  Girlfriend owns a firearm and lives with boyfriend, who is a felon.  The court dismissed the federal “aiding and abetting” indictment against the girlfriend, because if failing to do so then anyone who is sane, or law abiding would loose their 2nd Amendment Right given similar events.

  United States v. Smith, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98511 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 20, 2010) – Defendant convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.  The court ruled that the government had a significant interest in preventing gun related deaths due to domestic violence.  Defendants 2nd Amendment challenged denied.

 United States v. Smith, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98511 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 20, 2010) – Here is one of my favorites.  The defendant can’t possess a firearm for self-defense measures while engaged in a felony crime, drug trafficking. 

So what are the federal courts, most recently, telling us about their perspective of the 2nd Amendment?  Good people have the right to bare arms, bad people don’t. 

Our Founding Fathers (briefly)

“’Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion…in private defense.’” – John Adams, 1788

“’arms…discourage the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.  Horrid mischief would ensure if (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them.’” – Thomas Paine

“.The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.’” – Alexander Hamilton


Tragically, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Marton was killed by a gunshot wound last month.  While the FBI investigates and the entire Sanford, Florida, Police Department are unjustifiably branded as racists, or corrupt, by the media the truth is that another trial will inevitably unfold in the court of common opinion that may or may not influence the Florida State Legislature.  The issue is called the “stand your ground” component of their Castle Doctrine.  Twenty-six states have adopted similar legislation to what Florida enacted; more than half the nation.  A larger question looms.  Can a law-abiding citizen defend themselves without having to flee an aggressor with deadly or serious bodily harm intentions?  The Police seem to say No, The Courts Yes, our Founding Fathers Yes and the Politicians seemingly No.  The winds of change are upon us.

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About The Author:

Keith R. Lavery, M.A., CMAS, is a full-time criminal justice educator teaching at a public Career Center, University System of Ohio. He has facilitated and designed criminal justice, security, and law enforcement courses of instruction at the post-secondary level. Keith had a very diverse police career spanning nearly 20 years, working in urban and rural law enforcement settings with assignments ranging from patrol to specialized functions, to include HIDTA Drug Unit, CLANLAB Enforcement Team, SRT and Supervision. In 2008, Keith was awarded the Certified Master Anti-Terrorism designation from the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board. Academically, he has completed post-graduate course work dedicated toward a Doctorate in Education. Keith is currently the Law Enforcement Liaison for the Cleveland, Ohio, Chapter of ASIS International.

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