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Illinois school superintendent under fire for 2A misrepresentation

Judge Andrew Napolitano criticized an Illinois school superintendent for defending a misrepresentation of the Second Amendment.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The superintendent of a school district in Illinois is under fire for defending a student guide that misrepresents the Second Amendment, and this morning Fox News Senior legal analyst Andrew Napolitano asserted during an appearance on Fox & Friends that “this guy is making it worse by giving students in the suburbs around Chicago an inaccurate understanding of their rights.”

The controversy has infuriated gun owners and Second Amendment activists across the country. In a way, one might feel sorry for Superintendent Bob Hill because he didn't write the guide.

At issue is a middle school workbook that says this about the Second Amendment: “This amendment states that people have the right to certain weapons, providing that they register them and they have not been in prison. The founding fathers included this amendment to prevent the United States from acting like the British who had tried to take weapons away from the colonists.”

The workbook is used at Grant Middle School in Springfield School District 186.

Here is what the Second Amendment really says: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The statement has infuriated gun rights activists not just in Illinois, but across the country. It is being defended by Supt. Hill, who told WMAY radio that the workbook was put together by a now-retired teacher at Grant Middle School. The study guide is apparently still in use, he confirmed, and materials such as this are not vetted for accuracy. Hill indicated there are no plans to replace the workbook, and that segment of the course has been completed. Listen to the podcast here.

During this morning’s segment on Fox & Friends, Judge Napolitano observed about Supt. Hill that, “He comes from a culture which is the most anti-gun, pro regulation culture in the United States of America, even more difficult than our home state of New Jersey.

“Illinois has worn away at the right to keep and bear arms more than any other state in the union and the statistics show it,” Napolitano added. “What's the worst city in the country for murders? Chicago. What's the second worst? District of Columbia. Where is it most difficult to keep and bear arms? Chicago and the District of Columbia.”

Napolitano referred to two recent Supreme Court rulings on the Second Amendment during his appearance, the 2008 Heller ruling and the 2010 McDonald ruling in a case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, a victory that has been repeatedly overlooked by Seattle media for its important local angle. It is being noted on Facebook that Otis McDonald, for whom the case was named, is seriously ill.

Should Hill be forced to step down over his defense of the workbook’s language? The question has not been raised so far, but typically that’s where such controversies lead. He reportedly told the radio station that the explanation regarding the Second Amendment shows “what happens with the right to bear arms in the context of 2014.”

“It’s a study guide summary of the Second Amendment and the impact of the Second Amendment on the lives of people today,” Hill said.

Does this suggest Hill is defending the alteration of the Second Amendment to suit his personal view, or is he accurately portraying what has happened to the right to keep and bear arms in today’s culture?

The flap erupted Monday and has ramped up over the past dozen hours. Hill told WMAY that he has received several telephone calls, from all over the country but only spoke to one concerned parent from the school district.

Should the Second Amendment be interpreted in the “context of 2014,” as Hill suggested?

Judge Napolitano noted that the Second Amendment has been eroded over the years, and not just in Illinois. Here in Washington State, gun rights activists suggest that erosion is currently typified by Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure being touted as a “universal background check” plan that also stretches the waiting period on handguns, and affects all transfers of firearms, not just sales of firearms.

Two questions for Examiner readers:

Q. Should the Springfield school board direct Supt. Bob Hill to pull the controversial study guide and find a suitable substitute?

Q. Have you seen similar misrepresentations of the Second Amendment in study materials distributed in your local school districts?


Personal Note: Our colleague and friend National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea is down with an ailment and injuries, as noted by independent blogger Mike Vanderboegh. Hopefully he will be back at the keyboard within a few days, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.


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