Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Right to keep and bear arms challenged

November 21, 2007


Second Amendment

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.

— Both sides in the dispute over the handgun ban in the nation's capital point to a grim statistic: Guns were used in four out of every five homicides in Washington this year.

The numbers would be even worse if Washington did not have its strict gun control law, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said Tuesday.

The ban's opponents countered that residents must be able to protect themselves because their government can't.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the District of Columbia's handgun ban violates the Constitution. The case could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" in nearly 70 years.

Legal experts and participants in the case said could be among the court's most important in some time because the justices have had so little to say about the Second Amendment.

"Any resolution of the question will have a significant impact on gun regulation across the country," said Harvard Law School professor Mark Tushnet, author of a new book on the debate over guns.

The government of Washington, D.C., is asking the court to uphold its 31-year ban on handgun ownership in the face of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the ban as incompatible with the Second Amendment. Tuesday's announcement was widely expected, especially after both the District and the man who challenged the handgun ban asked for the high court review.

The main issue before the justices is whether the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns or instead merely sets forth the collective right of states to maintain militias. The former interpretation would permit fewer restrictions on gun ownership.

Gun-control advocates say the Second Amendment was intended to ensure that states could maintain militias, a response to 18th-century fears of an all-powerful national government. Gun rights proponents contend the amendment gives individuals the right to keep guns for private uses, including self-defense.

Alan Gura, a lawyer for Washington residents who challenged the ban, said he was pleased that the justices were considering the case.

Guns can be regulated but not banned, Gura said. "This isn't going to let crazy people have guns or felons have guns," he said at a news conference outside the court.

Washington banned handguns in 1976, saying it was designed to reduce violent crime in the nation's capital.

The City Council that adopted the ban said it was justified because "handguns have no legitimate use in the purely urban environment of the District of Columbia."

The District is making several arguments in defense of the restriction, including claiming that the Second Amendment involves militia service. It also said the ban is constitutional because it limits the choice of firearms but does not prohibit residents from owning any guns at all.

Rifles and shotguns are legal, if kept under lock or disassembled. Businesses may have guns for protection.


MyName 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't think a literal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment supports the viewpoint that all Americans have the right to own and/or carry any weapon they want. To quote:

"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."

I don't see anything in this amendment about what sort of "arms" people are guaranteed the right to keep, or for that matter whether "the people" refers to each individual, or something on the level of a group of people in a state or city who are put in charge of defending themselves and their city or state. That being said, there is definitely a common law right to keep a weapon to defend yourself and your property that is older than the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the 2nd amendment was put out there as a check against tyranny by a central government, but not as a blanket freedom for all people to carry any sort of weapon they like around. As long as State "Militias" (i.e. National Guard units) are in place, and as long as the general populace has access to some kinds of arms for personal use or as a potential substitute for a militia, I think some restrictions on the kinds of weapons allowed (including handguns) is constitutionally allowed.


Tom Shewmon 6 years, 5 months ago

Seems the panting, salivating Ron Paul anarchists are the new-fangled blogger---formerly only far-left, now actively pursuing anarchy in America. Good luck!

It's become increasingly difficult, if not impossible for BDS sufferers to differentiate realities from ideologies.


Agnostick 6 years, 5 months ago

staff04, if you're one of those folks that take the Constitution quite literally... it's pretty easy to interpret that what the Wise Guys were talking about were "well-regulated militias"... not "well-regulated firearm ownership." There is a difference.

The new amendment proposed by the folks at strips out the archaic, confusing reference to militias, and replaces it with wording and references that more accurately reflect how we use firearms today.

Besides... the "Wise Guys" gave us the power to change things when necessary. I think we're ready for a change. :)

The new amendment above in no way infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.



Tom Shewmon 6 years, 5 months ago

Anyone who has an inherent loathing and/or fear of the military is likely going to be anti-gun; it follows. The darling of the left, Willy J. Clinton, loather of the military, serial groper, impeached and disbarred due to subornation of perjury (not oral sex in oval office) was a staunch anti-gunner. I thank him and Albert Gore, Jr. though. They brought the issue to the forefront of politics and have essentially now helped pro-gunners, as the backlash was swift and severe for Willy and Al and their disgusting ilk. Democrats seem to have this problem with pretty much any issue. Defeat-O-Crats are dum-dums.

BTW, what ya'll think about even the liberal media big boys finally giving in and reporting some good news from Iraq. It's all the rage this week!

You guys have a happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for reading my post.


Dollypawpaw 6 years, 5 months ago

Lets not beat around the bush. The Clientele in Washington DC should be banned from owning guns.

Knives Ok, guns no.


max1 6 years, 5 months ago March 6, 1997: "When looking at the FBI total index crimes list, which shows number of crimes on a per capita basis for cities with population more than 100,000, it is not a coincidence that 4 of the top 10 are in Florida, and 6 are in the South, where gun control laws are very lax." -Rudolph W. Giuliani


staff04 6 years, 5 months ago

The second Amendment is just fine the way it is written. It says, "well regulated." I don't understand why anyone thinks in such absolute terms to suggest that there should be NO regulation of firearms (thank you, Gun Owners of America, for being more 2nd Amendment than the rest). No registries, no restricitons, no *regulation. The 2nd Amendment demands that there be certain reasonable restrictions.

Okay, so continue. I'm sure this will be a fun one to watch.


Finding_Uranus 6 years, 5 months ago

DC has backfired in regard to gun control. Irony at it's best. What DC has been is a textbook example---a perfect textbook example of gun control being a bogus idea, that it will reduce crime. It has proven exactly the opposite of what it set out to do. DC is the cesspool of the nation anyway.


blue73harley 6 years, 5 months ago

Countdown to serious posts such as....

"I don't think people need guns. Guns are scary and I just don't like them."


JJE007 6 years, 5 months ago

That's a great moniker, ozlandish!~)

I don't think I want to live in a world where only criminals and governmentally appointed mercenaries carry guns. I also know I don't want to live in a world where the government disarms the populace. That would be a gargantuan and invasive procedure which would only create turmoil, strife and enough resentment to lead to hatred and subversion. I will submit to it as soon as our government proves that it can be peacefully or even bloodily Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, etcetera. They can take it easy and start in DC, if they'd like.

Fight the fear mongering!


Agnostick 6 years, 5 months ago

What we need, simply put, is a "new Second Amendment":

Section 1. The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The right of the people to keep arms reasonable for hunting, sport, collecting, and personal defense shall not be infringed.

Section 3. Restrictions of arms must be found to be reasonable under Section 2 by a two-thirds vote of Congress in two consecutive sessions of Congress before they can be forwarded to the President for approval.

Also, the Gun Control Act of 1968 would be a big help in all this... if it were actually enforced.

I have no problem with licensed, trained, law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons for their own defense, and the defense of their families and property.



Steve Jacob 6 years, 5 months ago

This is a consevative court, they will end up lifting the ban, in D.C. and all over the country. I wish O'Conner was still on the court, and she wished she was too.


ozlandish 6 years, 5 months ago

Um, excuse me, but the firearm ban in Washington doesn't seem to be working if four out of five crimes in the past year involved handguns. Why are we arguing about the right to bear arms when folks ARE bearing arms regardless of the ban? Violent crimes involving firearems are going to continue to occur regardless of the ruling on the second ammendment. Maybe we need fewer law makers, and more people with a common sense approaches to resolve these issues.


max1 6 years, 5 months ago March 6, 1997: "A couple of weeks ago, all New Yorkers and people throughout the world were appalled by the senseless and horrifying act of violence that occurred at the Empire State Building. . . we may be able to find some sort of meaning in this tragedy by using it as a catalyst to revive national gun control efforts." -Rudolph W. Giuliani Dodge City was formed five miles east of Fort Dodge in 1871. . . Law and order rode into town by the name of Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. Dodge City adopted an ordinance that allowed no guns north of the deadline - or railroad tracks. On October 30, 1880, Virgil [Earp] became acting town-marshal of Tombstone . . . As city marshal it was Virgil's job to enforce local ordinances such as those against carrying open or concealed weapons in town. October 26, 1881: Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton arrive in town. The two Clantons and two McLaurys are observed loading bullets into their belt at a gun shop. The four men go to the O. K. Corral . . . Virgil Earp calls on brothers Morgan and Wyatt, as well as deputized Holliday, to help disarm the men who were openly carrying weapons in violation of the law. Approaching the men, Virgil calls on the Clantons and McLaurys to turn over their guns, but soon a shot is fired and the "shooting becomes general." Within 30 seconds, the two McLaurys and Billy Clanton are dead, and Virgil and Morgan Earp seriously wounded. THE STATEMENT OF WYATT EARP, Nov. 17, 1881 Q. What is your name and age? A. Wyatt S. Earp; age 32 last March. . . . Virgil turned around to Doc Holliday, Morgan Earp and myself and told us to come and assist him in disarming them. . . I saw that Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry and Tom McLowry had their hands by their sides and Frank McLowry's and Billy Clanton's six shooters were in plain sight. Virgil said, "Throw up your hands. I have come to disarm you."


Cait McKnelly 6 years, 5 months ago

Personally, I believe in the right to arm bears.


Ragingbear 6 years, 5 months ago

If only there were some type of official article, or amendment that our founding fathers wrote for us to look upon and know the basic rules for our country...


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