Community forum addresses the right to bear arms

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Nearly 200 community members, along with local officials, participated in a forum Saturday morning, June 22nd to discuss the second amendment.

The Community Brainstorming Conference titled the forum "The Second Amendment and the Black Community: Is there an absolute right to bear arms?" The group says they were overwhelmed with requests to discuss the controversial matter.

Concerned residents packed Saint Matthew C.M.E church to have their voices heard regarding the topic.

“We address issues that affect the African American community, the city as a whole, the state and the nation," said Dr. Pamela Malone. “The issue of gun control and violence is a significant issue that affects us all.”

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler were two of the officials on the forum panel.

“It’s not an absolute right as we know from the legal jurisprudence that’s come down from the U.S Supreme Court and Wisconsin Supreme Court, but there are a lot of emotional feelings about how it can be regulated or controlled," said Butler

Nazir Al-Mujaahid, a carry and conceal holder, spoke out in support of the right to bear arms, especially after being victimized.

“If you are against owing a firearm, that’s fine, but don’t trample on my right to own one or protect my family. We don’t know what is in the mind of these different criminals," said Al-Mujaahid.

“We are safer with fewer guns,” said Peter Kovac, who opposes the amendment. “If you have a gun the home, it's likely to be used against someone in the family in the home.”

Participants in the forum agreed the topic is a hot button issue that may be challenging to solve in the near future, but say discussions such as these help them to think about both sides of the debate.

Butler says it's important for citizens to have enough information to take back to legislators and alderman, so they can decide how the right to bear arms should be protected and enforced.