Second Amendment Symposium Held at School of Law

October 22, 2009

On Friday, October 16, students, faculty, and staff from Liberty University School of Law as well as citizens interested in the debate concerning the Second Amendment gathered in the Supreme Courtroom at Liberty University School of Law to take part in “To Keep and Bear” symposium,  an open discussion on current Second Amendment Rights and Concealed Carry Permits.  This event was sponsored by the Federalist Society at Liberty University School of Law and featured guest speakers Robert Dowlut and Philip Van Cleave.  Dowlut and Cleave spoke to a nearly packed Supreme Courtroom. 

Recent developments in the American legal system reignited the debate surrounding the Second Amendment.  The American Bar Association (ABA) has noted that there is more disagreement and less understanding about this right than any other current issue regarding the Constitution.

Robert Dowlut, General Counsel for the National Rifle Association (NRA), presented a speech focusing on the current status of gun rights at the state and national levels.  He also reflected on his experience with the NRA, including a presentation of judicial decisions related to the Second Amendment and how those decisions have shaped laws over the past century.

Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, presented his case on why students should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on college campuses. “At the end of the day, I don’t think there should be restrictions of firearms. Period,” Van Cleave said.  “There are always going to be criminals; they will always get guns. But the key is can you protect yourself? God gave you one life and I think he wants you to protect it.”  Van Cleave advocates for all Virginians to have the fundamental right to keep and bear arms and this right is guaranteed not only by the United States Constitution, but also Article 1 Section 13 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Benjamin Boyd, President of the Federalist Society at Liberty University School of Law, was pleased with the turnout of the event and hoped that the speakers’ messages impacted anti-gun guests who attended the symposium.  “It’s good just to see people coming together and speaking about gun rights,” Boyd said.

Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel, said: "The right to self defense and the right to bear arms is a fundamental right of any free people."

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