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individual firearms ownership

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Thank you Dick Heller. this is an article with a pretty good interpretation of the recent supreme court ruling that stated that the 2nd amendment is an individual right. it is a monumental step in firearms ownership, and hopefully prevent any more of these outragous law from being put into writing. an i encourage you to look farther into this case to see farther to what it entails, and the security that it actualy provides an Americans the right to bear arms for personal protection.


Special Bulletin

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the District of Columbia's 32-year ban on handguns. In the decision, the majority opinion says, unequivocally, that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. In the explanation of the decision, the majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Justices say the much-debated meaning of the Second Amendment could be rephrased to read:

"Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

In other words, logic demands that there is a link between the stated purpose and the command. Further, the Court cited the language of the First and Ninth Amendment as using very similar terminology, but "unambiguously refer to an individual's right". That interpretation codifies, the Court says, the right beyond any ambiguous reading.

"Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major victory for all Americans," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "The Heller decision reaffirms the wisdom of our founding fathers in creating the Bill of Rights to protect and preserve individual rights, the cornerstone of our democracy. Furthermore, this decision solidifies an historical fact, the commonsense understanding that governments have powers, not rights -- rights are reserved exclusively for individuals."

"Today's decision lays to rest the specious argument that the Second Amendment is not an individual right and marks the beginning of the end of repressive gun laws that have infringed upon individual liberty and done nothing to make America safer," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel."

"Wisdom and truth have triumphed over hysteria and falsehood," says Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan M. Gottlieb. "This decision makes it clear that a right 'of the people' is a right enjoyed by, and affirmed for, all citizens. It destroys a cornerstone of anti-gun rights elitism, which has fostered - through years of deceit and political demagoguery - the erosion of this important civil right.

"This ruling also makes it abundantly clear that laws which ban the possession of firearms, or make it simply impossible through regulation for citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, are unconstitutional and cannot stand," Gottlieb continued. "Today, America has taken a small but significant step toward restoring the Second Amendment to its proper place in our Bill of Rights."

Gottlieb is correct in that significant step characterization. The decision, although clear in the individual's right, is not universal in its decision. In the ruling, for example, the opinion is careful to make a distinction between an individual right and an unconditional permission to carry "any firearm at any time."

This is recognition, albeit not direct, of the fact that the United States has regulations in place, for example, strictly regulating ownership of machine guns and other devices including suppressors. That point was raised in an Amicus Curae argument put forward by United States Solicitor General Paul D. Clement. The argument, as a bit of background, was not supported by the administration, as was shown in Vice President Dick Cheney's signing an amicus brief along with more than 150 members of Congress.

The disagreement was obvious in the decision. In footnotes, for example, Justice John Paul Stevens position that the right to petition is "primarily collective in nature" is summarily dismissed as "dead wrong." In another, his argument regarding "to keep and bear" being clearly established and, therefore, not mutually guaranteed as described as a "bizarre argument".

The meaning as stated in yesterday's opinion is clear, the "right" to keep and bear arms merely codified a pre-existing right. As a pre-existing right, it "shall not be infringed" as it is not a right granted by the Constitution, but one recognized by it.

Shortly after the decision was announced from the bench, another bit of news that had been whispered earlier in the week was announced at the National Rifle Association. A lawsuit challenging Chicago's gun ban was not only ready, but being filed. According to the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, that lawsuit would seek to quickly move in those areas where common sense and other less confrontational approaches had failed.

Across the industry, however, it was more a celebration than a rallying cry for additional combat. From Smith & Wesson headquarters in Massachusetts, CEO Michael Golden was pleased with the decision. "It was obvious the Justices decided the case in the right way," Golden said, "it is good news to the industry and for individual rights. The citizens of the District of Columbia, San Francisco, Chicago and other areas have been told they have the same rights as the rest of the country."

For Taurus's Bob Morrison, the decision was one that meant more to him than the ability to keep making his products. "As a West Point graduate," Morrison told me, "this decision reaffirms the oath I took to protect and defend this country."

"For me," he said, "for all of us who swore that oath, it's knowledge that we did the right thing."

In short, the right of the people - all the people- to have firearms if they so choose, had been affirmed.

In the celebratory moment, however, it should be noted that no one has ever implied that the "reasonable restrictions" referred to by yesterday's decision should be tossed in all instances. Convicted felons, the mentally unstable and others disqualified from other rights should be denied firearms. The universal agreement, however, is that the local area in which a law-abiding citizen resides should not disqualify them from exercising their right to own a firearm.

In reading his dissenting opinion from the bench yesterday, Justice Stevens made a comment that has been largely ignored by many media outlets, but has raised the concerns of observers. "There is," Stevens said in his emotional statement, "no untouchable constitutional right." He also said that "judicial restraint" would, in his opinion, have been a better decision.

We're interpreting those comments to state that Stevens believes the Supreme Court should have passed on a decision, remanding the question back to the Circuit Court- with an implied hope that a lesser level of scrutiny to be applied.

It was that Strict Level of Scrutiny applied to this case that led to Justice Breyer's dissenting opinion. In it, Breyer calls for a new classification of judicial scrutiny, setting aside Strict, Intermediate and rational basis scrutiny for what he calls a judge-empowering "interest balancing inquiry" that asks "whether the statute burdens a protected interest in any way or to an extent that is out of proportion to the statute's salutary effects upon other important governmental interests." In other words, Breyer held that because handgun violence was a problem, because the law was limited to an urban area, and because there were somewhat similar restrictions in the founding period (a fact the majority describe as "false") the interest balancing inquiry would be an appropriate level of scrutiny to apply. Fortunately, that was not a view held by the majority of the Court. The majority, correctly, noted that not only is there no basis for such an approach, it would allow the "Third Branch of Government" (the courts) to decide on a case-by-case basis if a right was really worth insisting upon.

In the long term, we believe the Court's summary says it all:

"We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns."

"But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.

Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct. We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals. "

"This is a great moment in American history. It vindicates individual Americans all over this country who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting," declared NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it. The Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law."

"Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right," said NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. "All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right."

LaPierre, however, made it clear that the efforts to strike down all gun bans is now underway, saying "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."

It appears the NRA is moving - quickly - to see that the same level of respect is given in Chicago. And in Chicago's surrounding suburbs. And San Francisco. And, well, you get the point.


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Thanks to all for what everyone has done to see that this right is followed.

I think we all need to thank the NRA for all that they have done with these specific court battles. If it were not for the NRA, we would be in much more trouble with the gun laws.

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