Supreme Court To Back Gun Rights

Supreme Court mulls ‘right to bear arms’

By Patti Waldmeir in Washington
Published: March 18 2008 20:20 | Last updated: March 18 2008 20:20

The US Supreme Court appears ready to rule that Americans have a constitutional right to keep a gun in their home for self-defence, a ruling that could help Republicans in the upcoming presidential election.

Hearing the most important gun rights case in nearly 70 years, the justices on Tuesday spent 98 minutes engrossed in a lively debate about British and American legal traditions relating to the right to bear arms, especially in self-defence.

By the end of Tuesday’s session, it appeared clear that a majority of the court would rule that the US constitution protects the right of individual Americans to “keep and bear arms” – but that federal, state and local governments will retain some powers to regulate firearms.

At issue in the case is the constitution’s second amendment, which includes ambiguous language about gun rights. It says “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 justices sparred over whether those words guarantee the right of individual citizens to bear arms, or only the collective right to bear arms in a state militia.

A majority of the nine justices, including the crucial “swing” justice Anthony Kennedy, who often holds the balance of power on the court, appeared to believe the amendment guaranteed an individual right to weapons.

Justice Kennedy repeatedly insisted that the amendment must have been intended to allow citizens to protect their frontier homes and families against dangers such as attacking Indians or bears, and should provide a similar right to protect the modern home.

The case before the court involves a Washington DC law making it a crime to have any kind of firearm that is ready to fire, either a handgun or a loaded rifle or shotgun, and is among the strictest gun control laws in the US.

Dick Anthony Heller, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection. The top court is reviewing a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the DC law and broadly interpreted the right of individuals to bear arms.

The most difficult question for the court is: what kind of laws can governments pass to restrict the constitutional right to keep and bear a gun?

Chief Justice John Roberts made clear that the DC law would not meet his test as a reasonable regulation of firearms ownership. “What is reasonable about a total ban on possession of handguns?” he asked. But several other justices defended the ban as a reasonable response to the crime problem in America’s capital city.

Mr Heller’s lawyer said the court could find that Americans have an individual right to own guns but still allow governments to regulate some types of weapons, such as machine guns, and who can own them.

Political analysts said a ruling in favour of gun rights could help Republicans, especially in a close general election.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

What about “concealed carry” permits? Will Americans be allowed to own guns but not transport them?

If it goes as the trend is heading so far (and this case will help) it
looks like the vast majority of states are going to have a common
agreement to honor each others concealed carry permits.

Not all, but most.

I hope you’re right.

Here is a good place for more info

Seeing that most violent crime is directed toward women and could be all but stopped completely if only a small percentage of women in mugging or rape situations would brandish a gun (they need not even fire the weapon), it is pretty clear that gun control advocates are equivelant to pro rape advocates.

Less guns, more rape. Gun control is sexism at its worst.

Well, after the thug here in Auburn, AL killed that pretty college girl, I bought my first handgun. I was in the Army so I’m pretty good with guns. I got my C&C permit about a week ago. I hope I never have to woop it out but if I do…I hate to see what a .40 cal would do.

Leave it to the lawyers the try to twist the meaning of Colonial English speech.

I too, received my CCW permit this month.
And like John stated, I hope I never have to use it, but I will not hesitate to whip it out if I feel threatened, and at that point, I think I DO want to see what a 9 mm would do to the a ss hole.

I’m not taking a stance for or against, but how can you decide what the framers of the Constitution intended when the justices currently reviewing the case can’t?

The wording is ambiguous enough to be taken either way. I don’t see any twisting go on at all.

It would make him a NEW Hole!\:D/ :mwa-hah: \:D/

In light that ALL the other rights inside the Bill of Rights (even the name indicates its intent) are “individual” rights it only makes sense and using a reasonable man approach, it stands to reason that the second amendment was for the individual as well. It would make little sense to assume that the framers stuck the second amendment in as an afterthought to provide for the right of the miiitia to keep and bear arms. Wouldn’t be much of a militia to have to have special permission to be armed. He is right, it takes the frigging lawyers to mess up something as simple as the Bill of Rights. I love history and the Constitution as it was written was not receiving a lot of support from the States and was not being ratified as required, the citizenry was concerned, and rightly so, that the Feds and States had all the rights and the individual citizens didn’t. If you want to read how it all took place there is an excellent Constitutional author named David Barton who has written numerous books on the subject and he used old diaries, personal journals, manuscripts and books from that era. If you learned American History and used a textbook written after about 1960 you got the shaft. Much has been changed and left out. When I went to school we studied History but never got to the back of the book so consequently we always got to just about the same place, leaving out the most recent history which had the most effect on the present generation. Now history is sandwiched in between Interpertive Dancing and Sex Education and usually consists of little else than JFK, MLK, the Vietnam War and Woman’s Sufferage Movement.

You’d think that a columnist that writes about US law would know how to spell self-defense. Not once, but twice.

The Supreme Court CAN’T rule that we have any rights granted to us in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant us anything. We already have those rights.

The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant us rights like free speech or the right to bear arms. We already have those rights given to us by God. The Bill of Rights only prevents the government from taking our rights away.

The Bill of Rights does not contain language such as, “The People shall have the right to free speech.” It contains language like, “Congress shall make no law… abridging free speech” and “…the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

If the people did not already have the right to free speech and to bear arms, how could Congress or the Supreme Court abridge it?

We have all those rights already and the Supreme Court can’t do anything about it.

I think I hear a little cowboy in you…:mrgreen:

Thank you Doug Edwards! Now I can erase everything I just wrote! :slight_smile:
I was born in Concord Massachusetts, home of where the farmers took up arms against the British and where some of the stupidest laws and regulations have emerged in this society!
There is documentation outside of the Bill of Rights in the form of diaries and memoirs that answers the question of intent.

As Nick points out, these are inalienable rights.
The term unalienable rights (or inalienable rights) refers to a theoretical </wiki/Theoretical> set of human rights </wiki/Human_rights> that by their nature cannot be transferred from one person to another. They are considered more fundamental than alienable rights, such as rights in a specific piece of property.
The idea that certain rights are inalienable was found in early Islamic law </wiki/Sharia> and jurisprudence </wiki/Fiqh>, which denied a ruler “the right to take away from his subjects certain rights which inhere in his or her person as a human being.” Islamic rulers could not take away certain rights from their subjects on the basis that “they become rights by reason </wiki/Reason> of the fact that they are given to a subject by a law and from a source which no ruler can question or alter.”[1] These ideas may have influenced John Locke </wiki/John_Locke>'s concept of inalienable rights through his attendance of lectures given by Edward Pococke </wiki/Edward_Pococke>, a professor of Arabic studies </wiki/Islamic_studies>.[2]
In 17th-century </wiki/17th_century> England, philosopher </wiki/Philosopher> John Locke </wiki/John_Locke> discussed natural rights </wiki/Natural_rights> in his work, and identified them as being “life, liberty, and estate (or property)”, and argued that such fundamental rights could not be surrendered in the social contract. These ideas were claimed as justification for the rebellion of the American colonies. As George Mason </wiki/George_Mason> stated in his draft for the Virginia Declaration of Rights, “all men are born equally free,” and hold “certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity.”[3]