Supreme Court finds individual right to own guns...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by sterbo, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. sterbo

    sterbo sailor dog...

    Court rules in favor of Second Amendment gun right

    The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

    The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.
    The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "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."
    The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.
    Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.
    The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

    In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."
    He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

    Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

    Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.
    Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.
    The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday's outcome.
    The capital's gun law was among the nation's strictest.

    Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court.
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller's favor and struck down Washington's handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right.
    The issue caused a split within the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.
    Scalia said nothing in Thursday's ruling should "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings."
    In a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority "are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country" and believe the Constitution "leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns."
    The law adopted by Washington's city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. Shotguns and rifles may be kept in homes, if they are registered, kept unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.
    Opponents of the law have said it prevents residents from defending themselves. The Washington government says no one would be prosecuted for a gun law violation in cases of self-defense.

    * (06-26) 08:08 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
  2. troublemaker420

    troublemaker420 New Member

    AS many of us always knew it to be.... :cool:
    7 people like this.
  3. sterbo

    sterbo sailor dog...

    Thank you,
    and I'm sure we'll all be fascinated by the specific wording each Judge chose to use in rendering this historical and deeply divided decision.
    I haven't seen the specifics yet, but how the Judges chose to address the additional issue of gun control should be quite telling...
    2 people like this.
  4. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Justice Buzzby wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to free assembly."

    But they did, didn't they? Why would anyone without a political axe to grind treat the guarantees of the Second Amendment any differently than the guarantees of the First Amendment? The Bill of Rights was added to The Constitution specifically to prevent elected officials from passing laws that interfere with citizens' basic rights.

    How about "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"? Where would one need a loaded handgun more than in the middle of a crime-ridden urban area?
    7 people like this.
  5. SpiralArchitect

    SpiralArchitect The Cosmic Chronic

    Exactly. :woot:

    :rifle: ::camper::
    3 people like this.
  6. sterbo

    sterbo sailor dog...

    That, of course, is the abridged version. The 2nd Amendment reads (and it's critical to address it as such)
    "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."

    But that is not the/his point.
    The Framers weren't addressing local 'crime-ridden urban areas' in anyway, shape or form. They were only concerned with the very real threat of that which they had just barely avoided; subjugation, by an assumed, vastly superior power.
    Hence the nature of the amendment...
    2 people like this.
  7. Trocisp

    Trocisp Guest

    Actually, they were concerned with individual rights. The nature of the Amendment was for individuals to be able to protect themselves.

    Whether those rights are taken away by a murder taking your life or a dictator taking your life, is the distinction important?
    2 people like this.
  8. sterbo

    sterbo sailor dog...

    Yes of course.
    As I described above...
  9. ITG

    ITG Ardent Dilettante

    I just want to pop in and say that I extremely dislike that particular grammatical setup that you commonly see the second amendment listed add, wwhich, because of changing grammatical rules, is often interpreted to mean something different today than it did then, and since while grammatically speaking it is equivalent to the actual original grammar, most people aren't THAT good at grammar. Yes, Thomas Jefferson had better grammar than us.

    Compare the ratified version:

    "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."

    With the original version:

    "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."

    The comma does not, in this case make any difference. Both cases of are an ablative absolute, with "being necessary to the security of a free state" modifying "a well regulated militia." The latter version, the one that was actually written, is less confusing (note I'm not saying anyone HERE is confused, merely ranting about it in general). A "well-regulated militia" is necessarily in the eyes of a government their OWN militia. What the amendment is actually saying, and doing so in a grammatically correct fashion, is "Citizens need guns to protect themselves from a well regulated militia." As has been said, multiple times, on the board, by pretty much everyone talking here. This is why I prefer the original grammar, because it is clearer and less confusing to those who do not have the time or inclination to properly dissect the phrase.

    However, "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed" IS very general. And considering the care with which the constitution was written, it is far more reasonable to assume that that was intentional rather than unintentional. It does not say that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed ONLY in cases pertaining to protection from the government itself.

    This is largely because if you have a gun for the purpose of protecting yourself from the government, then you certainly also can and very likely will use it in any protective measure for your family. And if any law is passed banning arms for any reason, then automatically the right to bear arms for the stated purpose is also infringed. You cannot ban guns without infringing on second amendment rights, even if such is not your intention. A man who can't have a gun because his area has a gun ban due to a crime would still not have a gun if it became necessary to protect himself from the government.

    In this way, even though gun bans are ostensibly and very likely honestly intended for the safety of the citizens (a position that I and many others disagree with, and I look forward to seeing what happens in DC with the gun ban lifted), they are STILL infringements of the Second Amendment, because they interfere with the ability of a citizen to protect him or herself from the government at large.
    2 people like this.
  10. troublemaker420

    troublemaker420 New Member

    Out of all that has been written about this topic, I think ITG summed things up quite well. I find it scary the vote was so close when the answer seems obvious to many of us, but in the end, the final decision made was the correct one. I'm sure some will disagree, but at least now we can end speculation as to how the Supreme Court would interpret it, for they have, and the historic decsion, no matter how closely decided ultimately is a huge triumph for Second Amendment supporteres throughout the country. There's no need to wonder what exactly the Second Amendment means anymore....It means, barring legal reasons to deny(criminal records, history of severe mental issues, etc), that Americans have an INDIVIDUAL right to own arms. AS Is tated previously however, this was jkust reaffirming what most of us always knew to be true :cool:
    2 people like this.
  11. troublemaker420

    troublemaker420 New Member

    Here's the actual decision for those interested in reading it!
  12. Jake

    Jake Sr. Member

    The "state militia" is a very bad arguement. It is just gun-control advocates grasping at straws, trying to weasel around the constitution.

    Every amendment in the bill of rights concerns PROTECTING individual freedom and PREVENTING the government from infringing those rights. The Bill of Rights is basically a list of "Congress thou shalt not."

    I don't see how the number two amendment is the odd man out, GIVING the government powers, and TAKING that power from individuals.

    What is a "well-regulated state militia" if not an armed populace?
    4 people like this.
  13. Trocisp

    Trocisp Guest

    The (flawed) argument used is that the National Guard is the State Militia.

    Arguing with people about this is like arguing with any type of extremists. :shrug: Never works...
  14. Dedbr

    Dedbr Domestic War Veteran


    Jake, I want you to spend some time with me now and listen to these men as they felt about it. It was almosy unheard of to go un-armed at this time. These men were in the midst of one of the greatest wars of it's time. New words were being used, Liberty, Freedom, Justice. These things are not won by words, but at the end of a bayonet.

    The "state militia" you say is a bad argument is the crux of the whole amendment. Citizens, normal citizens, must be ready to answer a call to arms to defend their country and "your freedoms". That is a militia. The common citizens of this country.

    These men knew that lofty words and good intentions do not win wars but a well armed populace, ready to fight for these things could.

    Think of this for a minute. Would you fight and die for the things these men fought and died for? Nameless souls buried in unknown fields.

    It seems to me sometimes that freedom and it's cost is a forgotten subject around here. Freedom isn't free. There is a cost. We pay that bill with human lives. It's the only payment they accept........


    I beg to differ. I am not an extremist. I am a dyed in the wool, educated gun rights advocate. I have spent a great deal of time studying the Constitution and the men who penned their names to it and I truly do understand it's meaning.....

    Did you know Thomas Jeffereson wrote almost the whole thing? Check your history and see what his opinions were about firearms and the ownership of them by the private citizen. It's an eye opener, believe me.....

    Some Where In Ded Land......................:toocool:
    4 people like this.
  15. Trocisp

    Trocisp Guest

    Beg to differ on what? I'm a gun rights advocate.

    I meant arguing with people who are for gun control (as in, legislation to limit guns) is like arguing with extremists. They refuse to listen to logic. :shrug:
  16. Dedbr

    Dedbr Domestic War Veteran

    Sorry Tro, I thought you were giving up;).....:wave:...

    Some Where In Ded Land...............
  17. Trocisp

    Trocisp Guest

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
    --George Washington

    I think that about sums up the spirit of the 2nd Amendment.

    "Any who might attempt to abuse them," Criminals, foreign governments, etc. (And just so it's clear, our own government is not allowed to abuse the citizens, or they're allowed to defend themselves,) "which would include their own government."

    Naw, me? A gun in every willing home is a step towards a safer world. :p
    4 people like this.
  18. MunchBox

    MunchBox New Member

    Well, another flawed stereotype. As a new smoker, I always thought stoners were gun hatin', tree huggin', liberal, scumbags. Boy was I wrong.... Glad to see some fellow gun supporters on this board.
    2 people like this.
  19. troublemaker420

    troublemaker420 New Member

    LOL...I've been smoking almost 15 years, and I'm the furthest thing you can get from a liberal, tree-hugging scumbag. Pot smokers come from every segement of the population, ad the longer you smoke, the more you'll find this to be true. Blue or red, liberal or conservative....potheads are everywhere. It may not seem to be true, but keep in mind those who hide it the most generally have the most to lose if discovered. That explains the situation of many a "closet smoker" out there
    4 people like this.
  20. MunchBox

    MunchBox New Member

    Yeah, I have what some may call an "important job" and I found out the other day that 3 of my co-workers smoke too. One I suspected, the other two we're out of the blue. Interesting.....

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