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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion about the Second Amendment to the Constitution on Sunday evening.

Dinner begins 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; no reservations are required. Marquis Scholar Benton Wilmoth ’05 (Marysville, Ohio), a double major in government & law and international affairs, will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

He asks participants to consider the Second Amendment, which states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“As you consider these words, think about how you interpret the Constitution and what the text means to you,” he says. “Interpreters will generally fall into these categories or somewhere in between: Strict construction holds that interpretations should be confined to the literal text of the document as it is written, while the method of original intent tries to determine the historical context and Framers’ intentions that were in place when they created the document.”

He poses the following questions to consider:

  • What does “arms” mean to you?
  • Who are “the people”?
  • What do you see as the limits of this right and how do you weigh that against the general language of the Constitution?
  • If you agree that there are peaceful and reasonable uses for guns, upon what standard do you balance the gun rights and uses that might be constitutionally “in” or “out”?

In addition, Wilmoth offers several web sites as resources for more information about
the Second Amendment and gun control debates:

Named to the Dean’s List each semester at Lafayette, Wilmoth is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha (German) academic honor societies. He is a founder of Lafayette’s College Fed Challenge team and has received an Outstanding Attorney Award at the Brown & Roger Williams Second Annual Mock Trial Tournament.

Before serving a White House internship in the fall, Wilmoth was president of College Republicans and a volunteer tutor for Shawnee Success Academy, an after-school mentoring program for seventh- and eighth-grade students. He has held the positions of vice chairman and treasurer of German Club, serves on the Experience Lafayette Committee, and is co-coordinator of the Lafayette College Voter Registration Drive.

Wilmoth was a recipient of Lafayette’s Neil D. Levin ’76 Public Service Fund, which honors the late executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He has had an elected position on the Northampton County (Pa.) Republican Committee and has received the Northampton County Republican Committee Outstanding Volunteer Award and Lafayette’s Paul Tully Memorial Prize for State and Local Political Activism.

He is one of several McKelvy residents who have participated in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate with faculty on research while earning a stipend. Wilmoth studied the economic, political, and social changes of Eastern Europe since the fall of Communism and how those changes have affected domestic violence legislation. He worked with Katalin Fabian, assistant professor of government and law.

Last spring, Wilmoth worked full-time at the White House as assistant to the deputy director of intergovernmental affairs. During the summer he gained valuable experience through a Lafayette internship endowment at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He assisted the professional staff in financial analysis, economics, business development, international finance, communications, accounting, and information technology.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program; several Wednesday discussions have been added this school year. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

In addition, three McKelvy Scholars host a weekly radio program, Two Blocks Past Wawa, on campus radio station WJRH (104.9 FM), that features discussion and debate with guests and listeners who call in.

Previous discussions:
April 3 – Torture
March 23 – Drug War, Poverty, and Drug Trade
March 6 – Nationalism and Patriotism
Feb. 27 – Human emotion
Feb. 13 – Rationale Behind Military Duty
Feb. 9 – Ghosts
Feb. 2 – Death
Dec. 4 – Mind and brain
Nov. 21 – State of music industry
Nov. 14 – Consistent moral arguments
Nov. 7 – Privilege
Oct. 24 – Modern religion
Oct. 17 – Capital punishment
Oct. 3 – Revenge
Sept. 26 – Suicide
Sept. 22 – Sexual lust
Sept. 15 – Envy
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 – Obesity in America

April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 – Dark humor
April 11 — Cults
April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence

March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger toward computers and technology

Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes

Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration

Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender

Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News