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Gun Rights Advocates Want History Book Removed From Texas School

DENTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - A local school district is hearing complaints from gun rights advocates all over the U.S. over a book used in a high school history class.

The 734-page book in question, U.S. History: Preparing for Advanced Placement Exams, is used as a supplemental instructional aid, according to a spokesperson for the Denton Independent School District.

The text in question is on page 102, in the book's summary statement on the Bill of Rights.

"It says, 'The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia," reads Brie Getts. "It seems to be worded weird," Brie said.

Getts is a junior at Guyer High School, taking AP History this fall.

She was doing some homework using the book, she says, when she noticed the text on the Second Amendment and brought it to her father's attention.

"It's incorrect because it implies that the Second Amendment is restricted to the state militia," Sean Getts said.

He posted an image of the page on Facebook, and it quickly went viral, landing on blogs for gun rights advocacy around the country.

By Monday morning, Guyer High School and Denton ISD were getting phone calls and messages from people all over, demanding the book be removed from school.

"I didn't want to jump to conclusions and say, 'Oh, they're trying to indoctrinate our children,' but kind of the more I thought about it, it needs a lot more scrutiny," Getts said.

Here's the verbatim of the Second Amendment, written by the Founding Fathers: "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," reads Dr. Joseph Ignagni.

Ignagni, a Distinguished Teaching Professor at UT Arlington, has studied constitutional law and taught the subject for 25 years.

He says modern texts sometimes misinterpret the Second Amendment.  The individual's right to bear arms has grown stronger in the last decade, as more courts side with individuals in gun law cases.

"Until 2008, that was not a fact. Not in terms of the Supreme Court. Not in terms of what most people believed the Founding Fathers were intending," said Dr. Ignagni.

Dr. Ignagni points to the landmark DC vs Heller Supreme Court decision of 2008, in which the justices in a 5-4 vote declared the Federal Government could not pass a law restricting individual rights to guns.

The interpretation, he says, has changed what earlier courts said about the Second Amendment.

As for the summary text in U.S. History: Preparing for Advanced Placement Exams, the professor had this to say: "Post 2008 it's inaccurate. It should be updated and changed. If they're still using a book that says that, either they should change their books, or the teacher mention that this is out of date.  I can't say that it was wrong in 2007, but today it's wrong," Dr. Ignagni said.

A spokesperson for Denton ISD released this statement on the book in question.

"The main history book utilized in the Advanced Placement U.S. History classes for juniors in Denton ISD is titled: American Pageant. This is a history book that has had a strong reputation for historical facts for many years. The American Pageant, the official textbook, gives the exact Bill of Rights."

The book in question, U.S. History: Preparing for Advanced Placement Exams, is a supplemental instructional aid and not the official textbook for any history classes. The teachers and staff are aware of this 'summary statement' and are teaching the amendments from the classroom textbook, American Pageant.

The only approved textbook for these classes is American Pageant. All other materials are "supplemental." Please be assured that Denton ISD history teachers are disseminating the correct information on the Second Amendment."

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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