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Law Professor Calls For Repealing 2nd Amendment, Leaving Gun Rights Up To States

by | Nov 15, 2013 3:00pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Legal, Public Safety

Hugh McQuaid Photo A law professor from Texas called for repealing and replacing the Second Amendment during a symposium Friday on constitutional gun rights at the University of Connecticut’s School of Law.

Texas A&M University Law Professor Mary Margaret Penrose spoke as part of a panel discussion on tragedy and gun control. Penrose cited several high-profile shootings, including the Newtown murders and a 2011 shooting in Arizona that left six people dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded. She said she was shocked that the country has not yet reached a threshold for gun violence

Penrose asked the audience — a room packed full of lawyers and law school students — how many of them felt the legislative and judicial responses to gun violence have been effective. Not a single hand went up.

“I think I’m in agreement with you and, unfortunately, drastic times require drastic measures,” Penrose said. “. . . I think the Second Amendment is misunderstood and I think it’s time today, in our drastic measures, to repeal and replace that Second Amendment.”

Rather than applying the amendment to all states, Penrose recommended striking the provision to enable individual states greater discretion in determining their own gun policies.

“The beauty of a ‘states’ rights model’ solution, is it allows those of you who want to live in a state with strong restrictions to do so and those who want to live in a state with very loose restrictions to do so,” she said.

Penrose said she advocates redrafting the entire U.S. Constitution when she teaches constitutional law courses. She said American life has changed drastically since the 18th Century when the constitution was adopted.

“Why do we keep such an allegiance to a constitution that was driven by 18th Century concerns? How many of you recognize that the main concern of the 18th Century was a standing army? That’s what motivated the Second Amendment: fear of a standing army,” she said.

Hugh McQuaid Photo Penrose, who described herself as “somewhat agnostic about guns but extremely passionate about the United States Constitution,” said she had expected her proposal to be very controversial. But she felt more at ease after listening to remarks by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who spoke at the symposium Friday morning.

Malloy defended a law passed this year that tightened state gun control restrictions in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Although he spoke before any of Friday’s panel discussions, the governor seemed to anticipate some questioning of the law’s constitutionality.

“This being a legal symposium, I’m quite certain the constitution will be thrown around quite a bit,” he said. “We support in our state the constitutional right to have arms. But no right is without its limitations.”

Although there is a right to practice religions, society has accepted that there is no right to practice human sacrifice or polygamy, Malloy said. Collectively, we have recognized limitations on the right to free speech, he said.

“There are other rights that we all agree have limitations. It really is only this one particular point that our society clashes on, and that one side honestly and I think truly believes there should be no limitations,” he said. “But, as you can probably surmise, I think they’re wrong.”

Malloy did not call for a repeal of the Second Amendment, but he did say he believes Connecticut and other states have the right to decide what the appropriate regulation of firearms is within the confines of the state and federal constitution. He said he recognized that other states would choose different regulation models, or may chose not to regulate guns.

Malloy also said he hopes the federal government will ultimately put into place laws that allow states that have chosen to properly regulate gun ownership to have a legal framework to prevent those guns from getting into their state.

Penrose said her proposal would accomplish that goal and return to the states the power to regulate guns.

“Do I think this is going to happen? No. Do I think it’s a better solution than the legislative response? Absolutely,” she said.

Not everyone on the panel was supportive of efforts to pass gun-control restrictions. South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman said that history tells us that many gun control laws were racially motivated.

“The first gun control laws were actually meant to subjugate slaves. There has been a very close connection between gun control and racism,” he said.

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(42) Archived Comments

posted by: sparkplug | November 15, 2013  4:21pm

The second amendment is not just an amendment but also one of the ten rights delineated in the Bill of Rights. You’d think a law professor would know that you can’t amend away a constitutional right.

posted by: Mike Roberson | November 15, 2013  5:30pm

That is “more or less” what we have now! Each state already has their own interpretation of the 2A.

posted by: Siobhra | November 15, 2013  5:54pm

Right now we need the 2nd Amendment more than ever. It has been proven over and over to be far more of a blessing than a problem.

posted by: Dominick A | November 15, 2013  6:04pm

Well, let’s see.

A US Department of Justice study found lawfully owned firearms are used over 1.5 million times each year to protect a law abiding citizen and/or stop a crime. Two other studies not administered by the government found the number to be nearly twice that.

So if we take the questionable “30,000 preventable gun deaths” figure touted by Millionaires Against Individual Guns, and remove the 22,000 suicides, and the 1,000 lawfully justified homicides by law abiding citizens and law enforcement, we are left with roughly 7,000 gun deaths not committed by the user. We’ll even ignore the involvement in criminal activity (like drug dealing and robbery) that typically accompanies gun deaths at the hands of other criminals.

The average of the defensive gun use studies I mentioned above is 2 million lawful defensive gun uses per year.

That’s a two hundred and fifty to one ratio of “good” gun uses to “bad” gun uses.


In this case I’d say the good definitely outweighs the bad… unless, of course, the idea isn’t really to control or reduce crime, but to find an excuse to get rid of guns.

Amazingly enough, the events of April 19th, 1775 - the arrival of British regulars to seize the arms held by the colonists in Lexington and Concord (as well as the half dozen other examples of 18th century “gun control” by the King’s appointees - may have played a factor in the inclusion of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right.

For someone who claims to be “extremely passionate about the United States Constitution” she seems fails to understand the history behind the document. But I’ll admit to being a little unusual in that regard, as my ancestor stood on the Lexington green that morning, so perhaps my interest is a bit more personal than hers, and as such more deeply researched.

I just hope she researches her cases more deeply than this issue.

posted by: Patriot | November 15, 2013  6:15pm

This is typical of most liberal Professors, they are convinced they are superior to almost
everyone, less those with greater credentials of course. But herein lies the conflict, what kind of pompous jackass would think for even one moment, their thinking is so superior to, those men who so eloquently provided us, with such a master piece of thoughtfulness, accuracy, love. I say, let us divorce ourselves of these vermin and un-corrupt our society and let loose the intended Godliness so meant to be shared with each and every man, women, child of this great country. Let the Great State of Texas be the leader of this movement and shine like the star of their identity !

posted by: Matt from CT | November 15, 2013  6:21pm

It’s the only point?

Really Malloy?

How about this:  Abortion.

And just like guns, those who seek to ban all abortions are just as irrational and ideologically driven and the politicians who attack abortion do so to score cheap points with their own constituencies. 

What Connecticut did on gun this year is every bit as reprehensible as what Texas did on abortions—prohibiting outright whatever they think they can get away with and trying to push the limits of what the courts will allow to harass citizens into not fully exercising their rights.

Plus any law professor specializing in Constitutional history ought to know the history of Second Amendment is not rooted in the 18th Century alone and concern over standing armies, but goes back the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the battles between Catholics and Protestants for government control.

posted by: art vandelay | November 15, 2013  7:30pm

art vandelay

I do believe in the Constitution especially the Bill Of Rights.  Professor Penrose & Governor Malloy do make some very good points.  The world has changed since the days of a single shot musket.  The 1st & 3rd Amendments have restrictions.  Maybe it is time to REALLY look at the 2nd.  Nothing wrong with an open intelligent dialog.

posted by: David Librace for President 2016 | November 15, 2013  7:47pm

David Librace shared a link via NRA News.
about a minute ago
You know what they say if the smart Ass is not happy here let her go some where else

Law Professor Calls For Repealing 2nd Amendment, Leaving Gun Rights Up To States | CT News Junkie
A law professor from Texas called Friday for repealing and replacing the Second Amendment during a symposium on constitutional gun rights at the University of Connecticut’s School of Law.

posted by: bova | November 15, 2013  9:04pm

As a law professor, you would think she would know that the 2nd amendment is NOT what gives us the right to keep and bear arms. It is one of those “unalienable Rights” that was “endowed by [our] Creator”. The 2nd amendment simply reaffirms that the right is not to be infringed.

posted by: Truckinfavis | November 15, 2013  9:26pm

The problem with this law professors like, Obama and this lady is that they don’t believe in the constitution. How can someone teach something you don’t believe in? Ministers leave the church when they stop believing in God!

This is like the Pope rewriting the Bible because he doesn’t believe in it.

posted by: Adam Anderson | November 15, 2013  9:48pm

Well such basic rights like the right to speak, assemble the right to pursue happiness and the right to defend oneself, family and possessions, the right to practice any religion you want w/o fear, etc.. they are so fundamental that it really doesn’t matter if it is on a federal or state book or not.
No government gets to decide on these because they were never theirs to give or deny in the first place.
This is very clear in the brilliant process on how the constitution came about.

But if some person wants to live into a marxist/fascist state they should go and find one country with a regime where the most fundamental
and human basic rights mean nothing or little and move there and stay there.

So no, cannot mess with the 2A.

posted by: txmarko | November 15, 2013  9:53pm

Looks like the people of Connecticut have some work to do. They have a Governor who seems to think that our God-Given Rights, as enumerated in the Constitution, have “Limitations”.

Fine, Governor Malloy. I propose that YOUR Right to Freedom of Speech be terminated, err, I mean LIMITED.

I, and many of my peers, have determined that you have nothing of value to add to intelligent conversation, and that you should have you mouth duct-taped SHUT from today forward.

Please consider the effects of Unintended Consequences before you once again open your pie-hole to utter something else so utterly ignorant.

posted by: Harry Buffalo | November 15, 2013  9:58pm

It amazes me that someone using their 1st Amendment Rights wants to take away other law-abiding citizens their 2nd Amendment Rights.  What part of “shall not be infringed” is so hard to understand?
The argument that the Founding Fathers meant muskets and they had no way to fathom todays weaponry doesn’t hold water when the 1st is used to cover radio, tv and the internet, now does it?

posted by: Penrosefan | November 15, 2013  11:05pm

^ To all of the people above, you obviously haven’t read the second amendment.

posted by: johnnyrebel | November 15, 2013  11:31pm

What in the [email protected]@ is she doing at Texas A&M?? Send her sorry A$$ to UT with all the other libs before Johnny Football hits her between the eyes from 60 yards out!

posted by: johnnyrebel | November 15, 2013  11:33pm

If she thinks Texans will give up their 2nd amendment she is full of CaCa!!

posted by: LibertyNut | November 16, 2013  12:55am

This professor is proof that having lots of education can still leave you stupid.

posted by: mpkelly | November 16, 2013  2:18am

She needs to be slapped in the back of the head.

posted by: Pathenry52 | November 16, 2013  3:16am

“We support in our state the constitutional right to have arms. But no right is without its limitations.”

No sir, you do not support the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, you ‘tolerate’ it and deny it frequently.

More importantly, the limitations on all rights are that your exercising of them is mutually exclusive of others’ rights.  In terms of legally limiting the 2nd Amendment right, the statement “No right is without its limitations” is incorrect.  The 2nd Amendment is unique among all enumerated rights in that it is EXPLICITLY unlimited in terms of govt power to restrict or deny it - even indirectly.  This is a fact, not an opinion.  You ‘infringe’ the right by in any way inhibiting it, which means any attempt to make it harder to exercise, limits the ability to exercise it (and the framers were thinking “gunpowder embargo” when they wrote it.) are infringments.

That most every state just ignores and claims some power they constitutionally are totally denied doesn’t make this less true. 

If you don’t like it, you can seek to amend the constitution, that is the only way around 2A legitimately, which no doubt the professor knows but won’t admit.

posted by: JH_1 | November 16, 2013  8:15am

When seconds count, the police are minutes away… I’m thankful for the second amendment and the right to bear arms every day.

Most reasonable people agree that there should be some common sense limitations, such as not allowing the mentally ill, criminals, etc to purchase or own any guns.  I know some people will disagree with this, but if you can’t pass a background check, then maybe you shouldn’t be able to buy ammo.  Kind of makes sense to me.

I wish the state didn’t cave to pressure and completely ban most semi-auto rifles.  If they had to pass something, it should have been requiring a special license to buy one of these rifles.  That would still allow law abiding, responsible citizens to buy these rifles.  That could have achieved more widespread public approval.

Unfortunately, the rifle ban was politically driven.

posted by: DD777Gunner | November 16, 2013  10:07am

What the professor seems to forget, or more likely conveniently ignores, is that the Bill of Rights was crafted for a reason - to protect pre-existing rights, and SCOTUS has affirmed that the 2nd Amendment does indeed PROTECT the right to keep and bear arms.  You can remove the amendment, but the right still exists, and how did we protect it the last time the government decided to abrogate that right and confiscate our guns (including cannon)?  Does Lexington and Concord ring a bell?  Tes, the Liberty Bell!

posted by: sanecitizen | November 16, 2013  11:24am

It’s time to stop with the misleading argument of “The first amendment has limitations, why not the second?”

The first amendment does not have limitations, it has punishments for actions.  The only way to prevent you from shouting fire in a movie theater would be to cut our your tongue. 

Each person claiming to be concerned about “gun violence” should be ashamed.  Instead of trying to resolve societal issues that are the root cause of this violence, you spend time trying to ban guns.  This would be like trying to treat skin cancer by not administering chemo but rather trying to ban the sun.

posted by: Joebigjoe | November 16, 2013  1:38pm

As a 2nd amendment supporter I like what she said.

Let’s allow states to decide how they interpret the 2nd amendment. However once they decide it they can’t modify their law ever and if you choose to stay in a state that shreds the second amendment you can never move to a state that upholds the second amendment. In other words you and your family eat their own cooking forever.

Make those the rules and the second amendment stands tall because once these anti gun liberals have to make a permanent decision and see their neighbors packing up to move out, they will start to get it.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | November 16, 2013  2:41pm

Once again the wisdom of our founding fathers knew this would happen and being the subject of these buffoons under the English crown, they guaranteed not only the right to defend, but also the other amendments that make our country unique and so special. Treasure this America!
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

posted by: art vandelay | November 17, 2013  8:48am

art vandelay

I’m reading all these comments with the following thought.  As a nation we’re willing to forgo our liberties & freedoms to an ever growing centralized government. It started by letting the government centralize our banks and take over the money supply with the Federal Reserve.  We allowed our incomes to be taxed, We allowed our retirements to be taken over by the Social Security Act.  We allowed the government to control our health after age 65, and now from cradle to grave w/Obamacare.  We allowed a centralized government control how much water comes out of our shower heads, what kind of gas we can burn and the list goes on.  When it comes to a centralized government deciding what guns we can own and which ones we can’t,  ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.  I wish people had this same passion when it came to the other things i mentioned Government confiscated from us.

posted by: dano860 | November 17, 2013  9:28am

This country was born at the muzzle of one of those muskets.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were born of the use of weapons and brave people.
The only way it will remain is at the hands and actions of more brave people.
The people we see here, in La(w) La(w) land are the beginning of the end to a long history that has provided them the platform to spout this liberal drivel.
Have you ever wondered what language we would be speaking without the use of force to protect ourselves?
What is the method of protection chosen by security and others sworn to protect society?
Firearms are not the problem, the users are. Even if they took every single firearm out of circulation the weapon of choice would be the only thing to change. Anyone intent on harming people or doing damage to property will find a way.
The incremental-ism of the liberals is taking our right away every legislative session.  Governor ‘Moon Beam’ Jerry Brown of California just signed a bill banning all lead bullets, for hunting or target practice. That sounds like a good thing to the green heads but the unintended consequences will be worse. There are many types of projectiles available but they don’t have the impact force of lead. So to get this they alter them a little because no one wants a wounded animal wandering in the forest. What does altering the do? It causes the projectile to fragment to create the stopping power required. 
Lead degrades and becomes part of mother earth again.
Metal (coated) and carbide last and lasts, they aren’t looking far enough ahead when they make these laws.

posted by: uncljerbear | November 17, 2013  10:07am

True Obama liberial who think they can change the constitution and the bill of rights at their beckin call but I think the rule isa coming very close to the end.

posted by: B.A. Baracus | November 17, 2013  10:37am

I am sick of all these leftists who claim to be Constitutional scholars and then demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the Constitution as they trash it!  There are a number of things wrong with Ms. Penrose’s arguments.  The states already do exercise a significant amount of discretion to set their own gun laws (just look at all the states that restrict magazine capacity, ban “assault weapons,” prohibit concealed carry, etc.).  In contrast, I think you could make a very strong argument that the federal government has, for years, eroded the tenth amendment, assuming more and more powers that are state powers.  I suspect that Ms. Penrose has no objection to that, because it fits in with the Progressive agenda.

I’m also sick of these people who say the Constitution is outdated and needs to be re-written.  The beauty of Founding Fathers’ creation is that they recognized the need for change.  However they also recognized the value of constancy.  The Founding Fathers include a process to amend the Constitution in order for it to evolve with Society’s needs.  And it has evolved - to the tune of 17 more amendments.  The left refuses to acknowledge this process however because they know their agenda is so unpopular that it would never make it through the amendment process.  Therefor they just trash the Constitution as “old and outdated, written by slaveholding white men.”  They despise the Constitution and work tirelessly to try and convince as many people as they can that it should no longer apply and should be thrown out and rewritten.  Unfortunately they’ve been all too successful.  We’ve strayed very far from the Constitution as written and not enough people seem to care. 

So, I’d say Ms. Penrose is getting her way…just not as fast as she’d like.

posted by: Salmo | November 17, 2013  10:46am

In our modern educated world things just seem to continue being more bizarre. This lady is from Texas where an armed citizen militia drove the Mexicans out of their later to be recognized state. She comes to Connecticut where the Constitution was framed and where an armed citizen militia fired the shots that started the fight for freedom. Ironically, while she and others like her are bent on destroying our freedoms, applications for gun permits are at an all time high here including in Newtown. Our residents are not too quick to forget what happened to the Petite Family as well as other high profile home invasions. And in spite of this our legislators, ignoring the majority of residents, voted to end the death penalty. Last week a convicted killer was set free. If there is a logic to all this I fail to see it. Professor Penrose: please go home.

posted by: sofaman | November 17, 2013  11:01am

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,”

Justice Antonin Scalia

“There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons,”

Ronald Reagan

“I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.”   

NRA President Karl T. Frederick (1938)

All these people are now considered raging liberals “with no regard for the constitution” by those on the radical right.

Something to think about.

posted by: uncljerbear | November 17, 2013  8:32pm

I have a conceal carry permit,and I severed in the Army and was trained by the goverement in the use of a firearm.being a Vietnam era veteran makes the left liberials
nervous./But I bet if one of them was being accusted and I used my firearm to save or protect them they would be the happiest people in the world.lol

posted by: gutbomb86 | November 17, 2013  9:25pm


Salmo is another one of these guys who lives in a world where everything is black or white, no shades of either, where no ambiguity or complexity can’t be turned into a simple yes/no answer. Yet somehow only his point of view is the one that matters. Ridiculous.

posted by: GuilfordResident | November 18, 2013  9:51am

In all the public debate of SB 1160, I talked to State Senator Ed Meyer on the telephone. He stated to me that he believed no citizen should own any firearm. There are true gun-abolitionists out there. Remember that.

posted by: Joebigjoe | November 18, 2013  11:10am

I love how some of these lefties are so quick to point out other countries and how wonderful their socialized medicine is and how murders are down since they took away most guns, but heaven forbid we bring up the mistakes these countries have made like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc, but to them that information doesn’t count.

This article was just the other day. Ed Meyer should read it.


posted by: Nutmeg87 | November 18, 2013  4:02pm




DRASTIC TIMES?  REALLY?  I KINDA THINK IT WAS MORE DRASTIC IN 1776, 1862, 1929, 1935, 1966 ...  BUT 2013 ?????????????????????


posted by: sofaman | November 18, 2013  7:52pm

. . . and there you have it in a (no pun intended) nutshell. We have to accept dead children murdered in their classrooms so unfulfilled fantasies of male adolescents (sadly actually grown men) can continue to believe they are the hero/protectors.

Boys, we are seeking protection from you, not by you.

posted by: Pathenry52 | November 18, 2013  11:25pm

“and there you have it in a (no pun intended) nutshell. We have to accept dead children murdered in their classrooms so unfulfilled fantasies of male adolescents (sadly actually grown men) can continue to believe they are the hero/protectors.
Boys, we are seeking protection from you, not by you.”

Hahaha. Typical liberal “I think I’m so much smarter and civilized than you” attitude.

Let me remind you (and I encourage you to check for yourself) that the vast majority (virtually all actually) of the “child killing nuts” were/are liberals, not gun rights activists.  Aurora, gabby giffords, VA tech, sandy hook, etc,  etc.. all libs off their meds.

You don’t need protection from us, you need protection from your lefty buddies..  Whatever you think (wrong as it is) about us, know this—I don’t carry to protect you buddy, I carry to protect myself.  And I’d like to do it without input from someone who knows nothing about firearm ownership or why it is a good and safe thing.  Thank you very much.

posted by: sparkplug | November 19, 2013  8:26am

Boys, we are seeking protection from you, not by you.


“I’m too scared to protect my family from bad guys so I have to make sure you can’t protect yours either, just in case you decide to come after me.”

Of course this specious reasoning assumes that “actual” criminals will cheerfully turn in their firearms when ordered to do so, which of course they won’t. Former liberal Michael Savage hit the nail on the head when he declare that “liberalism is a mental disorder”.

posted by: Joebigjoe | November 19, 2013  8:28am

Sofaman you said ” We have to accept dead children murdered in their classrooms so unfulfilled fantasies of male adolescents (sadly actually grown men) can continue to believe they
are the hero/protectors.”

Let me rephrase that.

“We have to accept dead children murdered in their classrooms and people murdered in movie theatres so liberal social engineers can play God and try to fix nutjobs while they’re mainstreamed because they continue to believe they
are the only ones that know what’s best for society.”

As for being heros and protectors, I’ll bet that any man or WOMAN trained and allowed to have access to a locked away handgun in either of these situations would have stepped up to be a hero in those situations, but you social engineers dont allow it because you can’t accept the evil in some people out there.

posted by: Salmo | November 19, 2013  7:23pm

I am curious to know why, with all the opinions voiced here, did gutbomb86 elect to attack just me? If you feel better by castigating me have at it. My rant is based on facts (somewhat loosely. The Patriots of the Revolution did not fire the opening shots here but in Massachusetts). But facts are facts. And for your interest I would much rather be judged by twelve then to have me or my family carried by six.

posted by: Joebigjoe | November 19, 2013  8:27pm

Salmo the better the facts the more offended they are because once they start to think for two seconds about what you say factually, the faster they get all worked up because logic doesnt sit well with the feelings that they try to use. Feel proud that you were attacked.

posted by: gutbomb86 | November 19, 2013  10:32pm


Salmo - your comment just happened to be at the bottom at the time. Didn’t mean to single you out for more criticism than the rest. Your comment is just one of many ill-conceived opinions in this thread.

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