Del. Todd Gilbert recently spoke to the Virginia House, saying: “Free governments instituted by free people trust their citizens with arms” in a speech supporting the Second Amendment.

He conveniently forgot the “well-regulated militia” part, probably because he doesn’t understand that the Second Amendment was passed to support slavery! It was included to get slave owners like George Mason to support the Constitution because slave owners were afraid of slave uprisings and each slave state had a regulated militia that was tasked with controlling the slaves. And it worked! We must remember the Second Amendment in this context. It is a remnant of slavery! Not of a free people instituting a free government but white slave owners empowering themselves against their slaves and ensuring that slavery is included in the newly instituted government!

It is the institution of slavery that tore this nation apart. A wound that has yet to heal. Even Justice Scalia, who wrote the Heller decision, often referred to by folks like Del. Gilbert granting an individual the right to bear arms under his interpretation of the Second Amendment, said: “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Yet Del. Gilbert conveniently forgets this in his floor speech by his refusal to engage in any debate in our Legislature about exploring the limits of the Second Amendment such as Justice Scalia proposed!

Del. Gilbert and his fellow Republicans had that opportunity in the special session called to address that question and he chose to adjourn that session without that exploration. It is because of actions like Del. Gilbert and his fellow Republicans that we face continued mass shootings. While he and his party are big on Second Amendment rights, they are ignoring the rights of the rest of us to a life of liberty without being murdered by a person carrying semi-automatic weapons designed to quickly fire as many bullets as possible! Since he won’t listen to reason, let’s find someone who will!

Michael Cash, Maurertown