Martin Jeffrey, Life Coach, led the 200 people in prayer that was preceded by a chorus of uplifting song to get the vigil for the victims of gun violence started. The victims included Alison Parker, WDBJ reporter, and Adam Ward, WDBJ cameraman.
The memorial at the entrance to WDBJ was brightly colored with fresh flowers and balloons swaying in the breeze. Employees of WDBJ have commented on air how it gave them comfort.
The vigil was organized by Susanne Reilly founder of Stop the Violence Star City, Eddie Seah, Catherine Koebel, Luke Curry, Jason Lambert, and Mary Croft. Their goal Thursday night was a call for better gun laws.
Lenden Eakin, a Roanoke attorney with the firm of Ferris & Eakin, PC, appeared Thursday night on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight show.
“I was hoping to bring out the rational, legal prospective of gun ownership as interpreted by the Supreme Court rather than being part of the emotional outbursts that have been prevalent in the media so far. I think I did that,” said Lenden.
Lenden’s practice includes firearms law and he is a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer with a Special Occupancy Tax (SOT) for selling and registering machineguns. He is a firearms instructor and a former military officer.
In his interview with Mr. Morgan, Lenden explained how the 2nd Amendment applies to civilian ownership of AR-15s.
Prior to the discussion between Mark Glaze and Lenden Eakin Kerry Kennedy spoke with Piers Morgan. She’s the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, named for her late father.
MORGAN: Coming next, head to head on guns with an NRA instructor and a gun dealer on one side, and the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns on the other.
MORGAN: Let’s go right to our debate on guns in America. With me now is Mark Glaze, director of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, and attorney, gun dealer and NRA instructor Lenden Eakin. Welcome to you both.
MORGAN: Let me start with you, if I may, Lenden Eakin. You’re an NRA member. You have heard Kerry Kennedy there. Her father was assassinated. Her uncle was assassinated, two of the great political figures of modern times in America. A million Americans have been shot with guns since then. What is your solution or idea for how to reduce gun violence in America?
LENDEN EAKIN, NRA INSTRUCTOR: Well, the most important thing is to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and people who would perpetrate that violence. I think the disagreement is over how to do that.
MORGAN: What I keep hearing —
EAKIN: Background checks.
MORGAN: Right. What I hear from people on the gun rights side a lot is they say we are entitled because the Founding Fathers intended this, to have the same weapons as our military. And I find that a ridiculous argument, because if that was the case, then you’d all be entitled to have drones and nuclear weapons. And I don’t hear anybody calling for that.
So there’s clearly already a limitation on the kind of firearms you can have. What is the big deal in extending the limitation, in the light of these mass shootings, to include assault weapons, assault rifles?
EAKIN: Well, the AR-15 is a civilian version of the military rifle, and is widely owned legally by the civilian community right now. That makes it protected by the Second Amendment according to the Supreme Court in the Heller case and the Miller case. And if we want to change that, we could, but I think we would need to amend the Second Amendment to modify it or repeal it to accomplish that legally.
MORGAN: Right, Mark Glaze, there are people now beginning to say, yes, maybe we should look as a nation at amending the Second Amendment again, and the reason — or repealing it, because the wording has been so open to interpretation that nobody seems quite sure what it means or what the founding fathers truly intended.
MARK GLAZE, MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS: Well, look, it’s always a tough task figuring out what the framers intended. But I don’t think you need to rewrite the Second Amendment to do everything we need to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Look, we know that Justice Scalia, not a fan of gun control we think, when he wrote in the Heller decision that particularly dangerous weapons can be banned to protect public safety and other laws can be passed, like background checks, like restriction on where you can carry certain kinds of guns. All of those laws were deemed perfectly acceptable.
The question is, how far does that writing stand. That’s one of the conversations we’re having now. But I don’t think any of the proposals that’s being debated in Washington today even bumps up close to the Constitutional line.
MORGAN: See, Leonard Eakin, here’s the thing, America didn’t used to have drunk driving rules. So many millions of Americans used to drink and drive. And it killed a lot of Americans. And America woke up one day, collectively, and went enough. And they brought in pretty tough laws about drunk driving. As a result, the number of Americans killed by alcohol related deaths in cars has absolutely plummeted.
The argument’s the same, I believe, with guns. You can’t keep having 100,000 Americans hit by gunfire a year, 18,000 committing suicide with guns, and 12,000 getting killed or murdered with guns. You can’t just keep going like this. There’s got to be a point when you say, enough; what are we going to do? What weapons should stay in civilian hands and what shouldn’t?
These AR-15s are killing machines. I used one in Texas. The idea of those are being used by deranged young people in Sandy Hook Elementary School, those poor kids, as Joe Biden so emotionally said today, it sickens me. And I just don’t think it’s enough to say, I want the right to go hog hunting with this. That doesn’t supersede the right to stop kids getting killed with them.
EAKIN: Well, I don’t disagree with that at all, that we need to stop people from getting killed with them. Unfortunately, those laws are already there and didn’t work. But the Constitutional argument the gentleman just made has a flaw in it. The wording is dangerous and unusual weapons may be restricted. And there’s nothing unusual about an AR-15.
Our military and law enforcement have been training on them for 40 years. And all of us who have been through military training or law enforcement training are familiar with them and comfortable with them. And they’re the proper weapon for common defense if we’re going to stick to the Constitution in its original purpose.
MORGAN: Even the owner of the Texas gun store where I was at on Monday said they were not the preferred weapon for defense. And the reason he cited was that they cause such tremendous damage with the bullets. They go through concrete. They go through walls. People get killed with them.
I played golf with a Los Angeles surgeon the other day who has to patch up the gang victims. He said the same thing. A lot of victims he treats are hit with ricocheted bullets from these AR-15s, because the bullets go through walls. So they’re killing machines.
They are, as you put it, military weapons. They just have to be banned, haven’t they? What is the argument against banning them?
EAKIN: They’re not the military version. They’re the civilian version. You know the difference. You fired both. The argument against it is that if we as Americans need to organize for our common defense, they’re the perfect weapon for us to have. And if we’re not going to use that weapon for our common defense, I think we need to modify the Second Amendment to comply with the Supreme Court case law.
MORGAN: If the assault weapons ban came in that Senator Feinstein wants in, backed by the president, there would still be, despite the assault weapons ban she recommends, 2,200 guns legally obtainable to American civilians. You know what? That is enough.
Anyway, Mark Glaze and Lenden Eakin, thank you both very much.