COLUMBIA, SC — A past-president of the National Rifle Association argued Friday that mentally ill people and criminals cannot be used as excuses for interfering with citizens’ rights to own guns.
David Keene, who earlier this year finished his two-year term as NRA head, described those responsible for gun violence as one of two types: the mentally ill, such as Aaron Alexis, who committed the Monday shootings at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard, or criminals, who are repeatedly arrested and still have guns.
“There are things that can be done. There are things that should be done,” Keene said. “But none of the things that should be done can be used – or should be used – as an excuse to interfere with the fundamental right under the American Constitution.”
Keene spoke in Columbia on Friday morning during the S.C. chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates’ annual James Otis Lecture in recognition of Constitution Day. Each year, the board selects a topic relevant to the U.S. Constitution and invites speakers to lecture on it in front of high school students from across the state. About 70 students attended Friday’s lecture.
On Friday evening, Keene appeared with S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson at a gun rights rally at the Palmetto State Armory’s Columbia gun store.
The 2nd Amendment lecture came just four days after authorities said Alexis used his military contractor credentials to enter the Navy Yard and fired a shotgun and handgun to kill 12 people…..