Paul Ryan assures voters of their right to bear arms
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan warned gun owners their right to bear arms could be in jeopardy if President Barack Obama serves a second term while recently speaking at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. However, some local gun owners are unconvinced.
Drew Smith, 48, owner of the Marshtown Hunting Preserve in Dover, Del., has hunted for 42 years and is a current member of the National Rifle Association. He said he does not think this issue will define the campaign.
“I just think it’s more a matter of whipping up their voters,” Smith said. “The Supreme Court will define how the Second Amendment is interpreted, so the vice president can’t do anything about gun control.”
On the other hand, political science professor James Magee stated in an email message that he views the issue as pivotal. Magee, whose specialty is in constitutional law and the Supreme Court, traces the tension back to the inception of the NRA in the 1970s, and their ability to defeat efforts by Congress to regulate guns.
It was not until the Brady Bill was passed in 1993 that any sort of federal gun regulation had succeeded, he said. Among the many provisions in the bill was the requirement of a background check when purchasing a weapon, Magee said.
The success of the bill was short-lived, as the Republicans regained the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The bill was overturned by the Supreme Court under intense pressure from the NRA, Magee said. Since then, he said decisions have been made to expand the interpretation of the Second Amendment
“In 2008 and again in 2010, the Supreme Court—again 5-4 in both cases—made the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment a constitutional right to own and possess handguns for purposes of self defense,” Magee said. “This ruling overruled nearly 75 years of settled doctrine that the Second Amendment dealt only the right to bear arms in a state militia.”
He said the debate is always over what type of weapon people should be allowed to carry. According to Magee, the government should be able to restrict people from carrying weapons into public places, but people would disagree and say they need guns to protect themselves.
“It is a difficult issue, with arguments on both sides, now that the Supreme Court has rules as it has,” he said.
However, senior Ian Constable questions whether gun control is an issue worth debating in regards to concealed weapons, such as handguns.
“If someone wants to buy a weapon to harm someone, they acquire it illegally,” Constable said.
Constable, a member of the U.S. Marine Corp., comes from a family of gun owners and feels only certain people should carry a concealed weapon.
“Policemen, prison guards, those are the people who should be carrying weapons,” he said.
Despite Ryan’s claims of impending weapons regulations, neither Smith nor Constable can recall any sort of limitations put in place by Obama.
“The NRA has been quiet because [the president] hasn’t touched the gun issue, he could care less,” Smith said.