David Fennell for California Lieutenant Governor

A big thanks to Shelly Gray, Paula Cary, Rafael Maryska, Matthew Hintlian, Cregg Zimmerman and Sean MacDowell for your Second Amendment questions.

Our Constitution protects the rights of the individual to keep and bear arms. Period.

Some people use firearms for target shooting or hunting. Others use it for protection or self-defense.

Personally, the most important aspect of the Second Amendment is to protect citizens from tyranny.  

For my work, I have traveled to many developing countries. I went through the old Berlin Wall into East Germany as a young backpacker when I was 20 years old.  At Checkpoint Charlie, I was initially not allowed into the Communist country of East Germany, because I was wearing a concert t-shirt that “might offend the leadership.”  

I turned my shirt inside out and a different guard allowed me to pass.   

This would be the first of my many tourist and business trips to Communist countries and dictatorships before the fall of the USSR and the release of many European countries from Communist Russian rule.

It often occurred to me when I was traveling through repressive countries that the genocides that happened in places such as Cambodia may not have occurred if the citizens had our 2nd Amendment Rights to bear arms.

For some candidates running for political office, guns in American society may be an abstract issue in a briefing book, but my support for the right to bear arms is deeply personal. A number of personal stories vividly shape the way I feel about the issue.

Although I’ve spent most of my life in California, I went to elementary school in the remote rural town of Whitewright, Texas where my parents worked for Texas Instruments. One day three young thugs followed my 70 year old neighbor home from his convenience store. They drew their guns, demanded money and threatened to shoot him if he resisted. 

What happened next the thugs never saw coming. Our neighbor’s elderly wife had a hand gun in her purse. She saved her husband’s life by reaching into her purse and shooting the three men. I remember my father opening the door as the wounded men ran through our own front yard. They made it to their getaway car but ended up in the hospital and were arrested the next day.  Clearly in that case a gun saved the innocent lives of an elderly couple.

The second story is even more personal. My middle name is Douglas, David Douglas Fennell. I was named after my Uncle Dougie, whom I never met, but who at the age of 12 was playing unsupervised with a handgun and accidentally shot himself. He apologized to his family before he died in the hospital. 

Let’s not blame the gun. The tragedy was the fault of the adults who did not provide supervision. That lesson about the importance of gun safety has stayed with me. As an Eagle Scout in high school, I spent five summers on the staff at the Cutter Scout Reservation teaching Boy Scouts how to responsibly earn the “Rifle and Shotgun Shooting” Merit Badge under the supervision of a volunteer Army Reserve officer. We followed proper gun procedure and never allowed anything but the safe use of fire arms. With the decline in Scout membership, proper training is more important than ever for our youth.

The 2nd Amendment is our last form of defense against tyranny, and we need tangible protection against it. Perhaps that is why the 2nd Amendment is guaranteed in the US Constitution, right near the top of the list. 

I agree with our Founding Fathers. I will defend our rights as your Lieutenant Governor