Speaking to Undergraduates about the Second Amendment

November 4, 2019

by: Frank Tait

Penn State - Law and Marginalized Voices

The 2nd Amendment: The Right to Bear Arms
This timely and unapologetic debate explores whether the 2nd Amendment is restricting your behavior and thus marginalizing your voice. Come and debate with your cohorts from various arenas on the reality and myths surrounding the 2nd Amendment. Part of a 2-day event "Undergraduate Research Conference: Marginalized Voices" hosted by Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs.

Coming out of the PA Senate hearings on Second Amendment Issues on Sept. 24 and 25,  Dr. Shauntey James was looking for a pro second amendment voice to bring to this event.  Ann Kelly from Armed and Feminine recommended me to Dr. James.  I was honored.  The day before the event, Dr. James informed me that the Judge who was going to be the lead speaker was ill and could I handle the full hour.  I was up for it.  

A few years ago, I debated a representative of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (now Everytown), and I had a solid presentation to use as a basis.

Here is a link to presentation Audio and Slides that I used.  They’re not pretty but packed with data and the sources of the data.  We covered the source of rights, definition of militia, Racist roots of gun control, Founders knowledge of repeating rifles, Police duty to protect an individual, Background checks, Registration = confiscation, Death statistics in context, weapons of war, red flag laws, gun free zones, magazine capacity limits, semi-auto vs full-auto, accidental deaths and the root causes of violence.

My key thesis is that the government, media and anti-gun groups use language to manipulate you and that you need to be discerning as to what is a fact vs what is an opinion.  Anti-firearm rights groups use emotional language to manipulate.  We then went into the racist history of gun control and language.  

The key perspective I wanted to drive home is that the anti-gun groups are making a category error  by having tunnel vision that the gun is the root of violence, when the issue is that the human condition is the root of violence.  Solutions need to focus on people not firearms.

You could see the cognitive dissonance in the students faces as I got started, and their growing attention as I helped them see the difference between data and opinion on various gun control positions.  Their questions were good and showed that they were engaged.

We need to take advantage of these opportunities and get more at-bats with the younger generation to open eyes and minds to the manipulation of the anti-firearms rights side.

I am happy to speak on this anywhere - anytime and on my dime.