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Representative Jamie Raskin on the Second Amendment and How Gun Rights and Regulations Can Coexist.pdf (67.65 kB)

Representative Jamie Raskin on the Second Amendment and How Gun Rights and Regulations Can Coexist

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posted on 2023-11-20, 20:09 authored by Gabby Ramasci

On September 14 the Kennedy Political Union and School of Communications hosted Representative Jamie Raskin. Prior to being in Congress, Raskin was a Maryland state Senator for 10 years, as well as a Constitutional Law Professor at the American University Washington College of Law. [1] At the forum, the Congressman put his deep knowledge of the Constitution on full display. When asked about partisanship, Raskin urged Americans to come together and unite around the facts. He shared his interpretation of the Second Amendment and what rights he believes it truly gives Americans.

The Second Amendment reads “a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. [2] Partisan divide occurs on the interpretation of what “regulated militia” truly means. Conservative ideology says the Second Amendment gives the rights to the citizens to bear arms, while liberal ideology says that right was reserved for states, not individuals.

Given the dividing nature of this problem, it is certainly something the Supreme Court has taken up. In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court decided in a 5-4 vote that the Second Amendment did indeed protect individual rights to arms. [3] However, Democrats like Representative Raskin still attest that this is not the interpretation the founder fathers intended for. Raskin backs his own opinion up with the Constitution itself. Article I is what gives Congress the power to raise a national militia, which means federal rationale is not under scrutiny, but rather that of the individual or the state as having specified gun rights. [4] Additionally, Raskin uses Article IV to show that states are given protection from invasion and domestic violence. [5]

The idea that the second amendment is used to allow private citizens the ability to commit uprising against the government is not true. Raskin uses the example of the over 900 charges that came out of January 6th, with none of these charges being thrown out on the grounds that these individuals were engaging in their Second Amendment rights. [6] Raskin sees these cases as a way to discredit the conservative opinion that the second amendment services the individual citizen. Those partaking in January 6 were revolting against the government because many believed that election fraud was being committed. If that were true, the interpretation Matt Gaetz has that the Second Amendment “is about maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary” would have led to the second amendment being a large defense against those arrested for January 6th. [7]

Representative Raskin accepting the invitation of the Kennedy Political Union and American University’s School of Communication shows that he is a politician that prioritizes representing the voices of the youth. Gun control is an issue that will continue to hit home for students as the number of school shootings happening weekly continues to rise. Raskin’s interpretation of the Second Amendment that is backed up by case outcomes and additional Constitutional text will be crucial to arguing for gun control legislation.



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