The always-raging debate over gun rights in Texas got a new spark last week with comments made by Texas A&M Law Professor Meg Penrose. In a speech at the University of Connecticut, Penrose suggested replacing the Second Amendment with a state-by-state approach to gun regulation. After getting heavy backlash, she later explained she was not trying to be antigun, but was actually proposing a conservative, states-rights approach to the issue. Nevertheless, most gun-rights advocates are not on board with her approach.
Texas A&M officials told KTRH that Professor Penrose was unavailable to comment on this, but South Texas College of Law Professor Gerald Treece, who is also an expert on Constitutional Law, did provide reaction. "I respectfully disagree (with her)", he tells KTRH. "I don't think you can do what she's saying without a new amendment, but you can add greater rights." Treece explains that the Constitution lays out basic, minimum rights that states can only add to, not take away from. "The Constitution shouldn't be changed, it establishes a federal minimal standard," he says. "That shouldn't change if you're in Connecticut, New York, Texas, or any place."
While Penrose argues that her states-rights approach to gun laws would be more fair than a national standard, Treece explains the states-rights argument doesn't apply to basic fundamental rights that are guaranteed to all Americans, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and of course the right to bear arms. "The Second Amendment, just recently, was found (by a court) to establish an individual right in our citizenry to keep and bear arms as a function of self-protection and protection of your family," says Treece. "I think it's dangerous to suggest that Constitutional rights be altered."