tv Connecticut Black Republicans and Conservatives on Gun Rights CSPAN December 26, 2014 4:45am-6:01am EST
with the experiences of transitions of people back into communities with high crime. >> yes. well, i came into this -- the way i came into this, of course, my background was in law. i graduated from howard university. being from atlanta, georgia, that was the hub of the civil rights movement. so i watched what was taking place in terms of a young boy's death. and my heart sought change. as i came to an understanding of law and how things concerned justice, and as i came closer to the themes in my experiences of god, i started asking questions about what really is a good, fair approach to justice. so i went on later on and i ran for office. i didn't win that particular position. but the governor appointed me to the parole board for the state of georgia. what i didn't know about parole is that it's very interesting, as you look at each individual
case, to determine how long they stay in prison -- it might be five years, it might be three -- whatever the case is, you have to make a decision based on the crime and what the potential is for them to recommitment. when i looked at these determinations, a large part of it was the weapon involved in the crime. so it could be a simple drug case that may have been a situation where someone was actually -- not actually involved in a violent offense but they happened to have a weapon in the car. or during the process of the crime, they had a concealed weapon with them. so therefore, immediately the crime itself escalated in terms of what the penalty would be. and so even in our determinations for a person for parole, we had to look at very clearly whether or not there was weapons. as a matter of fact, because we have such a large prison populations, we even had examiners that would look over the case and we made our decisions initially by file.
if there was a weapon, there was a star, an asterisk and a circle that said there was a weapon involved. so at that point, with edetermined that -- we determined that there was a question about how long they would stay in prison. usually they could stay in longer. the point i'm making, when you start looking at this, it brought me to the place that i realized that what we -- we don't need gun control. we need self-control. the question centers around what people do with the guns. and so i'm looking across the table, when a person is on parole, and i find out that we did give them an opportunity to get freedom. and then of course they go out and then they still get themselves involved in some type of melee or they break the conditions of parole and then, of course, they have a weapon. this assures you're going to go right back to prison. here we have another die dichotomy, because a paroleee, a probationer, if they're even
in the vicinity of a gun, you're going back. here you have a different perspective. we have the family in total disarray, where you have -- in this particular case, one out of only three black children have a father or two-parent home, where over 70% of those that are born in a black community are born out of wedlock. now we're talking about a problem within the community about even life, human life. so with that with that being the situation, it's hard for you to have self-respect of your own life. it's very difficult to respect the life of other people. so as a point of pride, as a point of -- sometimes turf protection, whatever it might be, bearing a weapon becomes a part of the hip-hop culture. it became a part of the drug culture. it became a part of violent culture and even, in some cases, nonviolent culture. but to have that weapon was not used for sport or protection.
it was used to force the will of somebody else. so, now that is the issue that we have to face. in this particular talk, we're going to talk a little bit more about this. when you start looking at the inner cities, the urban areas, how do we get the weapons, in many, many cases illegal weapons, out of the hands of those who aren't mature enough to handle it and don't respect life enough to handle it and make sure the ones that do, have the maturity and the right perspective about the right to bear arms so that they can do so and then also have the proper education. those are some of the questions we raise up. one last thing. one thing that's most important to realize, in working with prison fellowship, i was not just sitting behind a desk. i went before numbers and numbers of inmates to talk with them. let me tell you something, they look just like me and you. seriously. these guys all have something that happened in their life.
it may have been one time or it might have been a lifestyle. the prison is not just punitive. but it's also -- also there should be some rehabilitation. i'm telling you, it's not there. therefore, there has to be some measure of intervention for those guys not to come out and just reoffend, because the best thing they know, is when i come out, how can i get ahold of something that's going to help me out? usually they want to be connected to the same group. we want to keep them without that which forced them into the same crime that will put them back in prison. in that regard, we can talk further about that. >> so i'm going to introduce reverend dean nelson. there are two mics, gentlemen, at the table there. reverend dean nelson, he is one of the cofounders of the frederick douglass foundation. and so i'm going to ask you to speak to the community. and when we talk about how we want to have a conversation about crime and guns, is there
a push and a pull within the faith community as to whether it should be second amendment rights enforced, or should it be something that, you know, we are trying to get as many guns as we can possible off the streets? >> well, thank you, regina. and, again, i am here particularly as a chairman for the frederick douglass foundation, which i'd like to affirm is an organization that believes in righteousness and justice, liberty and virtue. and i am a licensed minister. and so talking about this is important. i would appreciate it so much, from professor johnson, when he talked a little bit about even the civil rights movement, particularly the nonviolent approach that characterized the civil rights struggle, while you had leaders like dr. king, abernethy, these men who understood practicing nonviolence in their public demonstrations, you would be
hard-pressed to find any of them, particularly most of them being from the south, that had an understanding that guns or weapons somehow did not play an important part of the equation for protection of property and protection of family. i grew up in a small town about 60 miles west of washington, d.c. my dad, who was a former military, did not have guns in our home growing up. however, my grandfather had enough guns for the whole family and neighbors as well. it wasn't until i was in my 20's, late 20's, that i began to understand a little bit better why my grandfather actually had all of the guns. he wasn't particularly a known hunter in the community. but as a black man in rural virginia, who purchased 70 acres of
property in the late 1940's, there was no guarantee that the, quote/unquote, law was going to be on his side. by the time, in our county, that, you know, there was an incident that had occurred, number one, you couldn't be guaranteed that if that incident occurred on your property, that the person who was the sheriff or part of the law enforcement might not have been the one perpetrating the crime. secondly, even if it wasn't, there was no guarantee in this rural area that the authorities would be there in any time close to helping to protect you. so there was a clear understanding that you needed to protect yourself, that you needed to protect your family and you needed to protect those 70 acres that he spent a lot of money, time paying for. i do want to address part of this from -- even from a theological standpoint, because
when we typically think about the church -- and i'll interrupt myself by saying this. i grew up in the washington, d.c. area. i can say, just in d.c. and just outside of d.c., i have ministry friends who will be on a sunday morning in their booth, they will have a policy. they'll have a -- will have a pistol. they'll have a gun on sunday morning. if you are pastoring in southeast d.c., you might understand why somebody might need that. at the same time, i have well-meaning, committed pastors who are in the same area, just outside of baltimore, who are vigorously involved in gun buyback programs because they feel like that they somehow want to do something within their community to make a difference. and i think that, from a biblical standpoint, we understand, number one, that government is instituted by god. we're not anarchists. we do believe that. that's a biblical principle.
however, we also understand, even from a new testament context, that even jesus, the prince of peace, was one who encouraged and charged his disciples to purchase weapons to protect hymn and himself before -- to protect him and imself before his trial. if you look in luke chapter 22, you can actually discover that. my point is, sometimes we have perceptions today that are not necessarily rooted in our history, perceptions today that may not even be grounded in a biblical theology. and it's my pleasure to be a part of this wonderful panel today to help to move this discussion along, as it relates to guns, crime and race in our community. thank you so much. >> regina, may i ask -- >> yes. >> -- professor johnson to expand on the deacons of the fence? i know the story, but i know he
has gone deeper than i have in his understanding of the deacons of the fence, which will help a lot of folks appreciate our history. >> so it's one of the parts of the book that i move through. and you were mentioning your father as emblematic as the members of the deacons. so the deacons unfold in the south in a couple of towns in louisiana. they grow up almost organically. so there were a variety of branches that were sort of loosely affiliated with the original groups in places in louisiana. but it's interesting to talk about -- maybe i'll just tell the story of the inception of one of the chapters. particularly, as you're mentioning, the difficulty of relying on the state. so bob and jackie hicks in -- i
forget now the name of the town. they were hosting civil rights workers from the north, a group of kids from the university of wisconsin. and these were all sort of passivist, idealists. when they arrived in town, some of the local terrorist organizations basically or just good ol' folks, however you want to think about it, were unhappy that these young white kids were staying at the home of the hicks. they drive by several times. and their fire-bombing, doing a variety of things. and the kids, at the kids' insistence, they call the police. the police officer shows up and says, well, i'm not sure that i can protect you. i can't nurse-maid you. you need to get these kids out of here. maybe you ought to leave town as well. the response to have community was the kids were disappointed in the local police establishment. but bob and jackie hicks were not.
bob and jackie hicks and their neighbors, after getting this statement from the police, said, we better get busy. they sent the kids away. a nd anticipating violence that night, they had local men from the community come around. they were staged all around the house. when the fire bombers came later that night, they were surprised, not just by jackie and bob hicks firing back on them -- i've actually got a photo of bob hicks after the event, in the book. but they were also surprised by seven or eight men from the surrounding community who had positioned themselves around the house, and also fired back at the fire bombers. and there's more detail. i can't be as colorful about it, describing it here but you can see it in the book. there's also a wonderful book by lance hill, professor at .s.u., fully chronicling it. after this event, bob and jackie hicks said, well, maybe
we ought to get a little bit more organized. so it went from just this sort of organic response, neighbors coming to help neighbors, to a more organized and continue us effort. and by the end of the run, the claims that there were hundreds of chapters throughout the south, and this is just one of the underacknowledged stories, although maybe some of you remember that forrest whittaker several years ago starred in a movie about the deacons. that's not a bad depiction of this story. the thing, though, that i want to emphasize is the deacons were one slice of a very, very, very large and dynamic kind of henomenon. so people who were not organized under any banner were engaged in these sort of basic acts of self-defense, over and over and over again. it's a history that we owe some attention to. lots of these people were authentic american heros and we barely know their names.
>> and the reason that i really wanted professor johnson to underscore that point is that what most people don't appreciate is that the first gun control laws were embedded in the black codes that actually kept guns out of the ands of free slaves. and i would just say to my friends, who still want to take guns away from -- and who want to penalize folks like allen, who we saw in the video, is hat one of the things that social scientists have understood for a long time, and that is what frederick douglass once said, so you can appreciate it, reverend -- frederick douglass said he who is whooped easiest is whooped most often.
those who would like to do evil look for and love the darkness but they also look for weakness. one of the things that we've learned, whether it was in chicago or the homes in cincinnati, when you stripped and made defenseless people in those housing projects, they became the most targeted victims of those communities. once they were allowed and when they are allowed to own themselves, to -- to arm themselves, to protect themselves, as law-abiding citizens, what they realized is their victimhood vanished. and that's where i hope people begin to understand that this is not anecdotal. this is now found in statistics of the f.b.i. you know, contrary to, you know, the mainstream media's advocacy and
depiction, what has happened in this country, where we've had concealed carry is that crime has dropped. and the bishop and i were just talking about something that he had read just recently that validated that. we don't have to fight on conjecture or with conjecture or anecdotal stories. the f.b.i. now will tell you that that is the case. >> let me just add to that. just shows this dichotomy, because one of the things that i'm sticking with is that, you know, we are going to have to do something. and there have been areas to help these young people that don't carry the understanding of what to do with a weapon. and if in fact -- in fact, they already are having problems. in many cases -- i also oversaw the juvenile justice system for georgia for about a year. in the process of that, here you have people that were
bouncing around from one juvenile facility to another, and eventually they would graduate to the adult system. so in that regard, weapons will always -- weapons were always a part of that, even sometimes at ages of 14, 15, 16 years old. so this is upon us. again, most of these might have been and probably were illegal weapons, so no one taught them the right way to use it. but they don't even understand the right way of even dealing with one another. if you don't know how to deal with one another and respect one another and respect their life, respect their property, you're certainly not going to know how to utilize a gun appropriately. but it is ironic. you may have heard, 4th of july weekend, in chicago, there were like 82 shootings in chicago. 16 people killed. and so, of course, that brought national attention to gun violence, which, of course, chicago is one of the third largest cities. in 2012, chicago had 500 murders that year.
at this time of this article, they were at about 440 murders at that time. but look at this dichotomy, though. in the same area, chicago's crime rate -- listen to this -- drops with concealed weapons, because what happened is illinois started granting concealed weapon carrying. and within a year, chicago's arrest records declined by 20% as relates robbery, because of others having concealed weapons. bottom line with that, they were not as quick to hold you up if they thought you were carrying a weapon. ha ha! just a second thought there. so, you know, if you're going to break into somebody's home and somebody is on the other side to meet you, of course that does make a difference. you carefully decide what approach.
but, again, for us, those of us that are mature, those of us that can intervene, we can't be so conservative that we're conservative about the needs where there are people that don't have weapons on both sides, and both of them don't care. and both of them -- neither one of them have any care for life in that regard. i mean, one of the most popular tattoos in prison were the tear drop tattoos. that represented lives that were taken as a result of that person. he added teardrops based on lives that were taken. this is a serious problem that we have to face. i want to go back to this point. gun control is not what we're dealing with. it's to the place where our hearts can change towards one another. being in the ministry also, there has to be godley mentors -- godly mentors. there has to be some kind of male intersection interaction that can represent authority for them. omebody has to care.
so it's not just based on a law or the absence of a law. it's based on a compassion for people's lives, long before they get into the prison system, long before they shoot somebody. so our hearts go out for them. that would be my heart, for all of us that probably are called conservatives, in that regard, what can we do to make a difference in the lives of these young people? >> thank you, bishop. we're going to get back to professor johnson, because i want him to talk about political violence and the self-defense. but reverend nelson, do you have anything else you want to add a little bit before we go to professor johnson? where is the faith community on this? we hear bishop talk about godly mentors, about self-control, changes of heart. but second amendment rights, self-defense, public safety, there's so many versions of how we implement that in the
community. >> yes. well, one thing, five years ago, i did a -- i was privileged to do a study with about 200 mostly african-american pastors in urban communities. there are eight areas that we polled them on. what were the most important social things that were impacting your community? and it should not be a surprise that this issue with gang or gun violence actually was in the top three. so it's something that many of them are, again, very much concerned about with partnerships, with organizations like prison fellowship and in different states, there are state initiatives that pastors have partnered with. i believe in many cases the churches are still way underutilized, particularly in the urban community, because there are so many challenges that they face. i mean, you know, with the
incidents of, you know, ferguson and also in sanford, it should bring to all of our attention, if i can say it this way, the value of black life, because in these same communities, you know, with regard to life, you also have, you know, high rates of abortion. and that's a separate subject in one sense, but the value of life is something that has been eroded. and i think that the church has a key responsibility in speaking to the value of a life, before one comes into this world, while one is here, and at the end of life. and so i would just encourage my work over the last ten years has been involved with engaging pastors, particularly in urban communities, to value life regardless of whether we're speaking about it from the context of crime and guns or whether we're speaking of it from the context of protecting
innocent human life in the womb. >> professor johnson, if you'll explain that dichotomy. >> a couple of things. one thing that ken said, i was just waiting, hoping that i would have a chance to say this, because i didn't want to settle before we got a chance to emphasize it. so, as ken was talking about, ken was talking about the source of the right to arms. he talked about it as pre-existing. those of you that study it will recognize that the framers in the 1870's -- in the 1780's were establishing the bill of rights. they were recognizing rights that already existed. have this conversation with lots of people and i blog about this. one of the things that really had me bothered a couple of weeks ago was when retired justice john paul stevens actually used the word flawed
in his criticism of the arguments about the nature and character of the right to arms, and i wrote up log post about it -- wrote a blog post about it. ut once you get to the 1860's, one of the things that is abundantly clear is that one of the guarantees established by the 14th amendment, particularly for purposes of protecting newly freed slaves is that the 14th amendment was designed -- and i am going to uote senator howard who said that the great object of the amendment was to restrain the power of the states and at all times to protect fundamental guarantees secured by the first eight amendments of the constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms.
there are lots of skeptics about the right to arms. many of them are people who have a very deep knowledge about the conversation that was going on in the early and later parts of the 18th century, and they will focus on the militia clause of the second -- militia clause of the second amendment, and i say you have to think more than codification, you have to think about the english bill of rights. and then i push people to think about what was happening after the civil war. it was quite clearly an affirmation of the individual nature of the right to arms enshrined in the 14th amendment. it wasn't about militias. it was about recognizing that newly freed slaves, under the black code, were laboring under state laws that tried to
reimplement slavery in another name. you couldn't travel. you couldn't own various types of property, and you could and essentially -- you could not own firearms or other weapons. the idea was that people could not be controlled or successfully terrorized if they were armed, or at least it made hat effort more difficult. i think this runs into the modern debate in the following way. we all recognize that during any violent encounter, there is a window of imminent threats where the state simply cannot respond. so during the 19th century, the state did not want to respond. today, i think we are lucky to say that state and local governments are not threats, generally, but there is still that window of minutes, maybe long minutes, where police,
even well-intentioned police, cannot respond. that concern drove the 14th amendment protection of the right to arms, and respect of that tradition is what i find acking in the modern debate. the last point i would want to make is that lots of times when we are having these conversations, people say well, now what? we really do care what is happening to young people. look at what geoffrey cannon is doing in new york with regard o the harlem children's act. it is an intervention that is private. it is urging a change in the culture. and the results coming out of that enterprise are, i think, phenomenal.
the other part of the conversation that is important to acknowledge is yes, we have to care about this cohort of young men. some of them are maybe pretty far gone and deserve lots of what they get in the criminal justice system. but lots of them, i think, are in a spot where the interventions we are talking about are an important part of the conversation, and i think you've got to it knowledge it. and we have somebody here who is doing that work. >> can you talk a little bit about the work being done from organizations that are moving on reform in helping communities understand criminal justice but also second amendment? >> let me start by saying that we live in a time when there is a real struggle between the
fundamental and historic understanding of the constitution and our national philosophy that was founded on the primacy of the individual and the supremacy of god. there are forces trying to move us to a national philosophy founded on the primacy of the collective good and the supremacy of the state. that is a real live contest. and if we want to keep our individual freedom, we have to move in that direction. but the nra is an organization that is made up of 5 million members, and we are a single issue organization. but within that 5 million membership base, there are many conservatives who understand
what bishop is talking about in terms of our response to the challenge of our local communities. we have formed a group called right on crime and i encourage you to take a look at that on google, right on crime, as an organization, and look at what e are responding to. i have tried to encourage folks to fight the fight to preserve our liberty and the national philosophy that has made us an exceptional nation. we are not a perfect nation, but a perfectible nation, and that means we must get citizens to engage in moving in the right direction. many organizations are taking
direct action. they are out organizing, mobilizing, helping get people elected to provide leadership. that is the direct action arena. the other is the state and local and national legislatures. the courts are so important. i think we are one justice away from our freedoms being at tremendous risk by a more activist court. but the important thing that bishop is talking about is that we have to being gauged in the transformational process of turning people's hearts. there are young people in prison. some have been put into the prison like this lady might be if the prosecutor has his way. here is a mother wanting to
defend herself and her family, but because she made an honest mistake after doing everything else legally, they are now talking about putting her in a situation where she does serious time as a felon and she has lost her job. there are a lot of people who have made a mistake, and we cannot let the criminal justice system convert them or transform them into hardened criminals. we can get in and we must transform our system. our group, right on crime, is looking at ways to go in and transform the penal codes. we are looking at how to reduce recidivism. how is it that week, through mentoring programs, can provide a sort of intervention? i think there are those of us who are full-spectrum conservatives, who understand that we can fight in all of those arenas, and we are engaged in all of those arenas,
and that is what i encourage all of you to consider. now, some of us can do better fighting in one arena than another. i am going to lead the rap-hip-hop community to sonny and wayne. and aretha franklin. they can go old-school on you. but we must engage in all of those arenas if we are going to have a lasting impact. >> if you have questions, if you would write them out on your index card, i have two individuals who will be walking along the sides. just pass them to the aisles. if you have a question, send them down the aisle and i will start taking questions from the udience in a moment.
go ahead, bishop. >> this is why it is so important to live our lives on basic values and principles. hey go across the board. we should not allow ourselves to be painted into a particular corner. i know certain community say you guys are nothing but gun toting big truck riding with a hotgun -- that is what nra people are like. they don't expect to look like you. they end up painting into a certain corner. it's almost like people that say well, are you pro-choice or pro-life? you guys that are pro-life, you don't care nothing about these kids being born and don't have the mothers don't have the money to support the child.
they're being born in an area where they cannot be taken care of. on the other side, you have pregnancy centers that can take care of them. same thing with the gun. it would be ridiculous to say we don't have an inalienable right to have a gun. at the same time, we are concerned about the misuse of guns. we have to diversify ourselves and not just represent our own little culture and our own little area that we are used to and begin to see the whole picture. same thing with ferguson. what is the problem here? one is the value of life. blacks are upset because they feel like white police officers don't value this man's life. but there was more to it than that. we are talking about a history. these guys are angry and upset. there is law enforcement who feels like these guys are the bullies on the block. someone needs to be a bridge here that understands what the
importance of law-enforcement is. when i came on the parole board, we were the only organization that could make decisions on executive clemency. we were the last step in determining who actually would have the death penalty in the state. a lot of centralized, major tories would come our way. they asked me, do you want to have a weapon. i am thinking to myself, i have never owned a block, but how do you shoot one? we learned how to carry weapons in all of that because we needed to. i was the chairman of the time when al sharpton and all of them are throwing my name around on radio. i was happy to have a gun. let's be clear about that. at the same time, i am looking
at the parole documentation of all of these people who have guns who have used them a long way -- used them the wrong way. it was a breakdown of their life. they were disrupted in destiny and purpose for why they were created. >> bishop and professor, when we talk about urban communities in need, you mentioned that even when the prisoner gets out, even being in the same room with a gun is a violation of his probation and he can go back to jail. so how do we balance this idea that we want a gun in every home, that there are people who should have the right, enforce the right, you need to have one, and yet we come in context ith ok, so grandma has one and everyone is going on her house
-- to her house on sunday to eat dinner. i cannot go to her house. i can't -- there is a ichotomy of we want to enforce our second amendment rights, but in some communities, it serves as a wedge to separate me from my family. how did we go back to the community and say listen, we want to have this conversation. we want to figure this out. is it something then where we need to change the probation laws? do we really want to list that? how do we not prevent people from being disenfranchised from their family and their community at the same time encouraging everyone to enforce their second amendment rights and help with public safety? >> there are major knee-jerk reactions to sometimes
plausible problems that we can work through. like with sex offenders. somebody may have engaged in a relationship with a girl who is only two years younger and is a sex offender. for the rest of his life, he can't live within 1000 feet of a school bus stop or a playground. it became so bad, it was hard for us when we were rolling -- when we would parole these guys. we could not find them a safe place to live because of the aws that were supposed to be protective. same with the gun situation. you go down south and you end up getting arrested because somebody has a gun there. there tends to be overreach. we have to pull back. but beyond all of that, our goal would be to say how can we prevent it from the start, that
you would not even have to be in a situation quite like that. >> reverend nelson or professor johnson, do you have something to add? >> at this stage, going back to what ambassador blackwell just said that -- but in regards to crime, because i have worked for the last seven years with the frederick douglass foundation where we are usually helping candidates who are conservative or republicans to have a voice, i think we have a tremendous opportunity right now because many of these candidates say that even with regards to the second amendment, they have deeply held beliefs and understand the second amendment, but they come from communities where they have huge problems as it relates to guns and crime. the point i am making is we have a great opportunity for
people with the frederick douglass foundation, people from conservative and urban communities to shape thought and policy as it relates to over criminalization in these communities. i lived in virginia. i helped ken kuchen who was the former attorney general. they looked at the rights of criminals, particularly voting rights. can someone who was charged as an adult when they were 17 years old for a felony, which could we that based whole -- that they stole a cell phone that was worth over $200 -- that means for the rest of your life you don't have the right to vote once you come out of jail. reevaluating some of these commonsense approaches in a
society that has become so law based where we, as bishop hunt was saying, knee-jerk reaction, we want to create a new law for every problem when creating more and more laws may not really be the problem. i think we have an opportunity to look at over criminalization in communities whether it's regarding drugs or -- i believe that people do a crime, they should be responsible for paying their debt to society, but i think as we look closer at this, we have inadvertently created more problems by having heavy sentencing and over criminalizing people, particularly at a young age. and to be honest, those who are talking about it the most right now are those coming from the center right side of the aisle,
in a meaningful way. those of us from urban communities need to think about this in a serious way, particularly those from households of faith. as a minister, my first trip to jail was not because i committed a crime. it was because i went to visit young guys who did. i spent a lot of time in court and in jail because i was helping young guys who had made a wrong turn in their lives. i believe that those, particularly from the faith community, have an opportunity to reassess and redressed some of these issues from a unique perspective that could give rise to better policy in urban communities. >> earlier this week i heard newt gingrich say something that i thought was right on and courageous to say.
he said there are those of us who took a very stringent osition in the early 1990's, who basically were locked them up, throw away the key. it is time for us to have the courage to say that we overextended, that we didn't differentiate between the small core of hard-core criminals who should be locked up and for a very long time, and those who made a simple mistake and with the right intervention can get their lives back on track and be full and productive citizens. for newt to say that is an indicator that more of us need to seriously look at those things. >> the last point i would make
about three of the earlier statements, with regard to the roblem of what, in the literature, you sometimes see referred to as the problem of a shared access gun. this is not just an issue of what happens when someone who has just been let out of prison comes to grandma's house, it also is an issue of kids who are alone and unsupervised getting access to firearms, and this runs very differently. in very rural areas were children have access to the family gun and general training with regard to gun access, it runs differently. in urban areas, i think we have to acknowledge that the shared access gun requires a closer look. and the roblem is not just with having
someone who is a felon in the house, it is also a problem of do you have a young, volatile 14-year-old who knows where grandma's gun is? this is about choice. are you advocating a gun in every house? i am advocating people have choices about how they respond to deadly threats and there are lots of people out there who on principle choose not to own a gun, but those people who do choose are exercising a right that each and every one of us needs to have. >> i have a bunch of questions here. these two are kind of similar. addressed to professor johnson and professor blackwell. begins of defense history is not taught in light of our gun grabbing history and events like ferguson. ould it be possible to restart
beacons of defense. another question to bishop hunt. t was not that long ago that gun safety and marksmanship were taught in public schools and proper respect for what guns can do and a higher percentage of legal gun owners. do you think programs teaching gun safety and marksmanship might assist to direct use away from illegal guns and gangs? >> the answer to the question as to whether or not -- first, think it is important that as
we -- this is why it is important to have curriculums structured and designed at the state and local level. i think we should be much more forceful in our local school districts, demanding that the integral part of the civil rights movement and the fact that these were essentially veterans who had been in world war ii and korea who had in fact defended freedom and our national interests and put their blood on the line and risk their lives -- the answer to the question is that we should constantly never, never, never give up on making them part.
the other thing on the internet is a valuable asset for us. there's no reason why we can't get the word of professor johnson and others and make it internet friendly and push it out there to folks who are homeschooling, push it out to curious minds. we need to take social media and make sure that the more accurate depiction of history is made. look, i shot my first gun -- r. redd was a world war ii veteran. he was my scoutmaster, troop 75, and he took us out and taught us marksmanship. he taught us gun safety. and i am forever indebted to him for this very reason.
my wife's family, who is from west virginia, a coal mining family, shoot the eyes out of n idaho potato at 500 yards. i in fact won their hearts with my ability to shoot and eat. >> i will go to the site in question that talks about the programs in the schools. let me just warn you, my kids graduated from public schools and they succeeded, but i do not have a whole lot of confidence in these government schools. if a family chooses to have a gun in the home, even if it is a single mom, teach your children how to handle a gun. that means you have to be trained on how to handle a gun.
it's going to be part of the understanding that this is in the home for your protection. it's the family's responsibility to teach it. it's more of a community thing. i don't know too many churches that have gun shooting ranges, but i will say that it is important for adults to have access to ranges close by. if you have a gun, somebody is going to use it. take them to a range. let them get the feel of it because we are talking about responsibility and how to respect the weapon. that is important if you're going to have a weapon and the home. > the question was, how do you get this message out there. i am sort of encouraged, partly because i have worked on this issue, but there are two recent books on this question.
there is a book called "this nonviolent stuff will get you killed yuri." and there is a book about the mississippi freedom movement called "we will shoot back." he theme is -- i have actually been sort of encouraged. i think it is very hard to get serious changes in curriculum done at the high school levels, but i am encouraged by the internet and the fact that there are all of these networks out there with people who are interested, and maybe you bypass the traditional educational process on this issue. another friend of mine has a book called by passing social media or something like that,
and he actually elevates the efforts of the concealed carry movement or chronicles how people in the concealed carry movement move past the mainstream media and are utilizing the internet. i think those sorts of conduits are important for this issue as ell. >> so these two questions tie in together. i was an elected official and a democrat in a city with majority democrats where gun violence was high. i now live in a conservative town where everyone has a gun and there is no gun violence. why?
and then this question. a recent study in cook county, illinois, shows that high fees serve to deter people who annot afford the fees. the legalities of trying to obtain a gun in urban cities is much higher and more difficult than it is in other parts of the state, so maybe that is something the and or a -- the nra helps work with. >> we are. n the mcdonald case, the response from the gun control movement in the broader sense, and gun control elected officials, gun control advocates who happen to be elected officials pushed back
with that strategy of making it such a bureaucratic nightmare that it has still reduce the average person's ability to have and use for their rotection again. -- a gun. time after time, fbi statistics how this, that where in fact you have a long -- allowed law-abiding people to defend themselves, you have reduced crime. that's just the reality. nobody can argue that because there's no other authoritative stores -- source they can go to than the fbi statistics and that is what the statistics show. they prove out that guns re not the problem. it's bad folks with guns that are the
problem. >> the one thing i wanted to embellish is -- i think we're at the end of this battery ife. the one embellishment i will add is that often the motivation of people in public office for making it difficult for the next marginal owner to have access to a gun is sort of the background logic that any decrease in the number of guns is to the good. any decrease in the number of guns will generate some statistical eduction in crime. the thing that is interesting to note -- and people will talk and disagree about causation in terms of whether concealed carry is the full story with regard to the decrying --
decline recently in the crime rate, but the thing that is irrefutable is that we now have a record number of firearms in the u.s. and the crime rate, both the gun crime rate, even among young black males, has gone down over the last 10 years. in my textbook, we have a chart that shows gun ownership increasing to record levels and a decline in gun crime, which at the very least refutes the notion that any incremental increase in the number of firearms will generate an increase income -- increase in gun crimes. we have that theory refuted, and that is the foundation for people who end up trying to put really stiff, bureaucratic barriers in that would stop people from getting access to firearms. i think just that chart should be a refutation of that theory.
>> i have a question for each of you to answer. to each of the members on the panel, what is your position on universal background checks? if you could give a brief one minute or two minute answer because we're about to go into a break for our next panel. >> i am opposed. >> do you want to tell us why? >> one, it doesn't work in the hands of a government they cannot get its act together. it just doesn't work. >> i agree. that's not really the
point. there is transformation. there is rehabilitation. depending on a background check is problematic. >> i would add to that. what i said was right because that's what i believe, but if you want me to go deeper, just let me give you an example. look, we put a lot of emphasis, and we know now that there are people suffering from mental illnesses who are falling through the cracks. but the reality is that their first amendment rights trump -- according to everybody else i talk to -- trump our right to know, and therefore, the universal background check has been rendered ineffective and useless. > i am sympathetic to people
who feel this way, but there are a lot of policies and things that seem right but at the end of the day they don't really do what they are intended to do, and for those reasons, that is why i would be opposed. >> i am complicated on this, and i will tell you why. the objection to universal background checks is that you cannot do it without a system of registration. i think a system of registration is extremely worrisome. the question is can you put in sentence in place that would get you close to what you would get with the universal background check without actually doing the big command and control structure? in my state, pennsylvania, people who sell private firearms -- i am a member of
the computer board where people sometimes go on -- people who sell private firearms require -- just as a market response, require the buyers show their concealed carry license. the concealed carry license has turned out to be a surrogate for a private chat. this basically fondles into the incentive -- funnels into the incentives. summary asked me this question on another panel and i said listen -- somebody asked me this question on another panel and i said listen, avoid the registration scheme. just say it. make it the kind of incentive that affects the instincts and the interests of buyers, and you will get 99% of the people you can get.
the other 1%, you are not going to get them anyway. they are not going to comply. create an incentive, don't enforce it, don't have a registration. call it what you want. i think if you pull up the motivating force in some mechanism, the instincts of good people who are about to sell guns that you would do most of the work that you wanted done and, i don't care what you call it, i think you could do most of this without all of the political difficulty. maybe i have hedged in the way that academics are supposed to do. > and again, i get worked up about this because the president is a big advocate of universal background checks.
this is the same administration that through fast and furious but illegal guns on ational captioning the streets of mrk. i don't trust the government. >> we are about to go to a break. i'm going to read a question from if audyps. but this panel is not going to answer it. i'm going to save it for our second panel. the question is, why has no one on the panel addressed the racial disparities in unjust system regarding the stand your ground laws? don't you think that associating gun control with hip-hop culture and drug dealers sees the stereo typical propaganda and foor that already exists? so i happen to know that our second panel is going to be able to handle that very well. so we are going to take a 5-minute break in case we need to use the bathroom and come back. >> could i ask a question? >> yes, sir. >> please give me permission,
because mark twain has messed with my city for decade now. after his seventh visit to the city of cincinnati, mark twain was asked whether or not his impression of the queen city's of the midwest was. by a young yournlist. he said son if i heard the world was ending tomorrow, i would get to cincinnati as fast as i could because things happen there ten years after they happen in the rest of the world. >> so on that note we thinchinge our panel for joining us this afternoon. [applause] thank you. wear going to take a 5-minute breek. so be back in your chairs at 4:00. we'll get ready for our second panel.
>> on the next "washington journal" columnist terry jeffery talks about what he would like to see accomplished from the republican-led 114th congress. then clarence page talks about his book, culture warrior. "washington journal" is live every morning at 7:00 eastern and you can join the onversation. >> tonight book tv and prime time features books by african merican leaders.
that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. tonight, a conversation with stream court justice elena kagen at her alma mater at princeton university. here's a look. >> the hearings that you see on tv are the tip of the iceberg. you have to wander around and talk to all the senators. i think i did 82 of them. and what was striking was how many of them both republicans and democrats wanted to talk to me about the second amendment and about guns. but of course there's a kind of -- there are rules about what you can ask at these kinds of sitdowns. or at least there are rules about what i could say so that they knew that they couldn't ask me very direct questions about what i thought of particular cases or issues. so they would come up with
these proxies along the lines of, so, do you hunt? and i went through just countless of these interviews. and it was just my answers were so pathetic, you know. no. do you know anybody who hunts? not really. and so i was sitting down with one of the senators from idaho who has a ranch and who is a great hunter himself. he was telling me all about his hunting and how important this was to many of his constituents. and i totally understand why. why many senators would want to now these kinds of things. and so i was feeling a little punchy. it was late in the day. it was my 9 prd interview. i said if you would like to invite me hunting i would really be glad to come.
and this look of abject horror passed over his face. you know? and i realized, ok, i can i've gone a little too far. i said i didn't really mean to invite myself to your ranch but i will tell you that if i'm , cky enough to be confirmed ask my colleagues to take me hunting. i grew up in new york. i didn't have this experience. but i understand why this matters to you. and i would -- i will commit to do that for you. so when i got to the court, i went over to justice scalia's chambers one day and i told him the story. he thought it was hilarious. and i said to him, you know, this is the single promise i made in 82 office interviews. so he said, well, i guess i'll have to let you fulfill that promise. >> saturday, supreme court
justice elena kagen on her career, her approach to the law, and stories from behind the scenes of the court at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> here are some of our featured programs you'll find this holiday weekend on the c-span networks. saturday night supreme court justice elena kagen at princeton university. sunday evening at 8:00 on q&a fact checker author glenn kessler. on c-span 2, saturday night at 10:00 on book trn v's jards, damon root on the longstanding battle of supreme court activism and judicial restraint. sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern jonathan yardly who recently retired from the "washington post." on american history tv on c-span-3 saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war
discuss president lincoln's 1864 reelection campaign. sunday afternoon at 4:00 on real america tried by fire, that chronicles the 84 infantry division during the battle of the bulge. >> up next, supreme court justice samuel alito and former florida governor jeb bush discuss the bill of rights and founding fathers. they talked in philadelphia where a new exhibit features the founding documents including the bill of rights, the constitution and the declaration of independence. this is about an hour.
>> i am so glad to welcome you tonight. i am jeffery rosen. i am the president of this wonderful institution, the national constitution center. as those of you who have been here before know, the national constitution center is the only institution in america chartered by congress to disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a nonpartisan basis. and it is hard to imagine a more exciting milestone in the fulfillment of that inspiring mission than the one we celebrate tonight. 225 years ago, in october 1789, george washington sent to the states 13 copies of the bill of rights and one to the federal
government. 12 of those original copies of the bill of rights survive. and today one of them is returning to philadelphia. it will be displayed in the george hrment w. bush gallery which we are unveiling and previewing today in a beautiful new exhibit constituting liberty and the declaration of independence to the bill of rights that will open to the public later this year. this display of the bill of rights is made possible thanks to an historic agreement between the queftsdz of pennsylvania and the new york public library. and governor corbit and tony marks, president of the new york public library are here with us tonight. the exhibit which you will see after the show is thrilling. it includes a stone declaration of independence lent to us by david ruben tine as well as the first public printing of the constitution. and the exhibit tells the story about how the rights that were promised in the declaration were implicit in the
constitution and were finally codified in the bill of rights. it includes an exciting interactive which we produced with constitute which is supported by google that will allow visitors to the gallery and on line and across the world to click on any provision in the bill of rights to see its historical ant seed nts and to follow the spread of that liberty around the world. the new gallery and exhibit will be the focal point for three years of debate and education about the meaning of the bill of rights at the national constitution center, on line, and around the country. i am thrilled to announce today that we have been awarded a generous 3-year grant to promote constitutional debate and education about the meaning of our founding documents. jack and tina are here with us tonight and we are so grateful for their generosity and patriotism. [applause]
i am also thrilled to announce the partnership with the college board, the national constitution center will create the best nonpartisan interactive constitution on the web. weevil commission materials on conservative and liberal interpreters cochaired by the founders of the federalist society and the american onstitution society. the two leading conservative and liberal lawyers groups. we will convene scholars from all perspectives today they issues -- debate issues, and we will build podcasts held on every media platform across america. the museum of we the people. as a center for civic education, the national constitution center is the one place in america where citizens