Sullivan County

The Second Amendment -- what does it protect?

Second Amendment issues

PINEY FLATS, Tenn. - When you walk into Shooter's Edge in Piney Flats, the first thing you notice is a hand-painted mural paying tribute to the Second Amendment.

Store Manager Don Reimer says the Second Amendment is very important to what he does every day and he wants his three heroes there on the wall: police, law enforcement and military.

But Reimer says the right to bear arms is misunderstood, and his mural sparks a lot of questions about exactly what it means. "I think every time you get a question about the Second Amendment, it's always 'stop infringing upon my rights to own a gun and to deer hunt.' And it's not about that, the Second Amendment is about tyranny," he explained.

Though our militia has changed since the Bill of Rights was signed in 1791, most gun owners in our area defend the right to bear arms under any circumstances. Mike Lewis served in the U.S. Army for 12 years and now he's the head trainer at Shooter's Edge. "A lot of my brothers have died and fought protecting our Constitution, so the way I look at it, it needs to be looked at pretty hard before they make any decisions," he told us.

Gerry Gray has a unique perspective. As a Virginia prosecutor, he often tries gun violence cases. Even though he owns five guns, he says gun ownership has gotten out of hand. "It's truly frightening, the number of firearms that are available in this country, and I personally am not willing to accept that as part of the price we pay for our Second Amendment. I don't think the founders and drafters of the Constitution had that in mind," he said.

But for gun dealer Dave Peterson, it's less about the guns we own and more about the choices we make. Peterson, who owns Greenville Outfitters, says, "Everybody's been given the same right at birth, and that's the right to make the right decision and the wrong decision. And when they make the wrong decision, they have to pay for it," he said.

Learn more about the Second Amendment and history of gun control on our special Guns In America section.

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