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The Supreme Court has been busy making rulings that will impact many people’s lives. To break down some of the major items we need to know, Judge Melodee Armstrong joins the Get Up! Church. She is a mediator of high-profile cases, and she’s helped her clients succeed in civil and criminal matters.


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ERICA CAMPBELL: We’re glad to have you on this morning. Listen, because we just trying to understand so let’s jump right in and talk about gun reform starting with the Second Amendment. What do we need to know about the Second Amendment?

JUDGE MELODEE ARMSTRONG: The Second Amendment is an 18th-century law trying to fit a 21st-century lifestyle. It states 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. So the Founding Fathers debated the amendment and guns but believed a standing army. Yes, the US military. They believed it was a threat and potential for government oppression. So they agreed on arming a militia where everyone had to be a member, a member.

But as we discussed in our Juneteenth interview, Blacks were just three-fifths of a person. That’s a no for Blacks in the militia or being armed. Ironically, when the Black Panthers carried weapons in the 1960s, in response to perceived government oppression, guys, what did California do? Governor Reagan signed the Mulford act prohibiting open carry, and the NRA and many states agreed. Ironically, again, the NRA was founded in 1871. And Erica, they supported gun control. Their president told Congress in 1934, that guns should be sharply restricted and only under licenses, which may echo the founders’ idea to arm a militia. The founders were not however concerned with individual gun rights. So when did things change? In 2008, The Supreme Court, once again in DC Vs. Heller, overturned the precedent so that now without a militia, we all can bear arms.

ERICA: Yikes. That’s a lot.

GRIFF: Right? That’s a lot.

ERICA: But that’s so well stated. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for that quick history lesson. So President Biden recently signed a new gun reform legislation into law. Can you break that down for


JUDGE MELODEE: Kudos to Congress first for doing a kumbaya, my lord to achieve this right? It added exes who are convicted of domestic violence as persons restricted from guns for five years. Gun sellers must be licensed dealers and conduct background checks. It expanded background checks to folks under age 21. If states agree, there’s grant money for states to pass red flag laws. That’s where anyone can ask a court to temporarily remove guns from someone, a judge finds dangerous and that’s a discussed in that fourth of July massacre we’re dealing with now. There’s money for school safety and mental health programs. TJ, what it’s not going to do is require background checks on all gun sales, or ban assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. In some states, you can’t smoke or drink alcohol until age 21. You can get an assault rifle at age 18.

ERICA: All right before we wrap we must ask you about Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson she was just sworn in last week. What are your thoughts? How are you feeling?

JUDGE MELODEE: Absolutely ecstatic and proud Erica. Yes, we know there are high hopes and expectations for her. She can handle it though she and her God and our God right. Let’s pray for all of them and continue to celebrate her as she starts her first full week as the new kid on the block.