US Justices Rule for on Gun Rights

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by exwhyzee, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. exwhyzee

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    Pretty interesting clarification from the US Supreme Court regarding gun rights. The court felt the District of Columbia's gun restrictions overreached their constitutionality...




    New York Times
    Published: June 27, 2008
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declared for the first time on Thursday that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to have a gun, not just the right of the states to maintain militias.


    Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the landmark 5-to-4 decision, said the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.” In so declaring, the majority found that a gun-control law in the nation’s capital went too far by making it nearly impossible to own a handgun.


    But the court held that the individual right to possess a gun “for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” is not unlimited. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Justice Scalia wrote.
    The ruling does not mean, for instance, that laws against carrying concealed weapons are to be swept aside. Furthermore, Justice Scalia wrote, “The court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”


    The decision upheld a federal appeals court ruling that the District of Columbia’s gun law, one of the strictest in the country, went beyond constitutional limits. Not only did the 1976 law make it practically impossible for an individual to legally possess a handgun in the district, but it also spelled out rules for the storage of rifles and shotguns. But the court did not articulate a specific standard of review for what might be a reasonable restraint on the right to possess a firearm.

    For more, read here.
     
  2. DC_DEEP

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    HazelGod sort of beat ya to it, in this thread.

    Perhaps we could get a thread merge...
     
  3. vindicator

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    Very interesting ruling... at a very interesting time.

    This law has been on the books for 32 years and the Supreme Court has not dealt with this type of gun rights case since 1939. Is it a co-insidence they waited till Bush stacked the deck with his conservative judges to accept a case like this?

    Anyway, this ruling was clearly along ideological lines. It contradicts US v. Miller (1939), the last gun rights case, that decided that the framers of the Second Amendment DID in fact mean that members of a militia have the right to own a gun. They looked at historical means of "militia" and other research to arrive at that, and it has been the previous case precedent for 80 years. How the court arrived at this ruling considering case precedent is beyond me. The Supreme Court even goes to the lengths of looking at other countries laws and ruling when deciding, so I don't understand how they could go against US precedent on such a major case.

    Every other piece of legislation is picked apart so people can't read into it, yet the second amendment states a "well regulated militia", which somehow has been warped and twisted to mean that anyone can own any gun and carry it, loaded and freely, at any time. Where does it say that at all? The framers meant what the Second Amendment clearly says, members of a militia clearly have the right to bear arms to protect against the state, and i have NO problem with that. It doesn't say that they can use them for any use other then that. It doesn't say you can keep them loaded at your bedside or carry it on your person. The whole point was for men to have arms to be ready to fight if there was some sort of threat to the Republic. If there was any other legislation that liberals tried to "read" into, conservatives would never allow that. It would also be struck down in the Supreme Court. But if you stack the courts with activist conservatives judges you can get away with anything.

    I am not necessarily for super tight gun control, but i feel the original intentions of the Second Amendment have been usurped.

    I'm sure the framers would be very upset that there original intentions have been so twisted for personal, political and business gain.
     
    #3 vindicator, Jun 26, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  4. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    by this, do you mean that ownership/possession was intended to be restricted to active members of the militia?

    From the GPO see: (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/constitution/html/amdt2.html)

    In United States v. Miller,\4\ the Court sustained a statute
    requiring registration under the National Firearms Act of sawed-off

    [[Page 1194]]
    shotguns. After reciting the original provisions of the Constitution
    dealing with the militia, the Court observed that ``[w]ith obvious
    purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness
    of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment
    were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.''\5\ The
    significance of the militia, the Court continued, was that it was
    composed of ``civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.''
    It was upon
    this force that the States could rely for defense and securing of the
    laws, on a force that ``comprised all males physically capable of acting
    in concert for the common defense,'' who, ``when called for service
    . . . were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of
    the kind in common use at the time.''\6\ Therefore, ``n the absence
    of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a `shotgun
    having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length' at this time has some
    reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-
    regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees
    the right to keep and bear such an instrument.


    growing up I was influenced by the liberals at home and in academia, and by news events to favor extensive restriction on the ownership and use of firearms, I am now, however, beginning to re-think that position

    whether or not one can take the plausibilty of an invasion of the USA, it is one of the scenarios envisioned by the Founding Fathers,

    it is a scenario made temporarily implausible by American post WW II technological and military strength and geographical isolation,

    and since, has been made plausible again, in different forms (think September 11; review Jane's, CIA, and other estimates of growing chinese military capabilities)

    I certainly would like the capability to point and shoot, should the need arise
     
  5. marleyisalegend

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    That's one of the funniest interpretations, it's like making a law guaranteeing cooks the right to the kitchen, isn't that axoimatic?
     
  6. DC_DEEP

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    Actually, no, that's a very valid question, and one that has been debated since the second amendment was ratified.
     
  7. vindicator

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    Hey Nick, you got it. I should have added the original text of US v. Miller.

    So I don't understand how they took a precedent that has stood since 1939, which is that the second amendment did not apply to Miller et al because he was NOT a member of a militia. So how did they arrive at the decision today.

    And i agree with you as well that SOME people, (ideally who are trained... as in a militia) MIGHT someday need to bear arms to deal with a fascist or authoritarian government, and that right is engrained in the constitution. But to say that the second amendment is a blank cheque for anyone to get any type of firearm they want doesn't jive legally.
     
    #7 vindicator, Jun 26, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  8. marleyisalegend

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    I was referring simply to the notion that soldiers were going to be armed anyway so why make a law about it?? I was trying to make a funny.
     
  9. exwhyzee

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    Ah sorry, I didnt make the connection with blam blam.

    I hope posters on the topic will continue their thoughts there.
     
  10. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The framers were the best educated men in the nation. They knew precisely what they were writing. Look at the text of the amendment itself:

    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.
    You will note that the construction of the sentence contains two clauses. The first part, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State," explains the second part but in no way constrains it. There is no modifier stating who regulates the militia just as there is no modifier stating that the people shall keep and bear arms only because of the need for well regulated militias.

    As to what is a militia, let the founding fathers answer that themselves:

    ‘‘I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." - George Mason, Virginia Delegate to the Constitutional Convention

    "What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty." - Elbridge Gerry Representative of Massachusetts.

    Federalist 29, written by Alexander Hamilton, is entirely devoted to the subject of militias. It's worth the read because it essentially explains that while militias should be used to keep the law and sovereignty of the United States or the individual states, that the federal government would be foolish to use it as an instrument against the people for the militias themselves would unseat the government:
    ". . . if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidible to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens." -Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 29
    Hamilton expounded on this further in Federalist 28:
    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. The usurpers, clothed with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in embryo. The smaller the extent of the territory, the more difficult will it be for the people to form a regular or systematic plan of opposition, and the more easy will it be to defeat their early efforts. Intelligence can be more speedily obtained of their preparations and movements, and the military force in the possession of the usurpers can be more rapidly directed against the part where the opposition has begun. In this situation there must be a peculiar coincidence of circumstances to insure success to the popular resistance.
    Finally there is this very lengthy section from the Federalist 46 penned by James Madison himself. It describes quite clearly that militias exist to prevent the federal government itself from exceeding its bounds and infringing upon the rights of the states:
    The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.
     
  11. D_Kaye Throttlebottom

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    Userped??? WTF? Are you nuts? The original frameworkers had just fought another militia trying to disarm them - the English army. That was the reason the founding fathers gave us the right to protect ourselves aside of having a militia to protect us, our rights to protect ourselves would not be restricted.

    Mind you the supreme court - still restricts who has access, felons, mentally ill all of those controls are still intact. But living in DC without having any means to protect yourself or your family does not stop crime. Criminals don't obey laws, they will brand a weapon - you are not aloud to protect yourself by having one in your house. It makes it easier for an intruder and any person that shoots an intruder is penalized. It was screwball law, that harmed citizens more than it detered crime. DC was the murder capital of the US with the highest murder rate with that gun law in tact.

    Save your disdain for the founding fathers, dude - a total gun ban on law-abiding citizens was what was at odds with the 2nd ammendment.
     
  12. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Adams and Jefferson would agree with you:

    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ - Thomas Jefferson

    "Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense." - John Adams
     
  13. DC_DEEP

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    Excellent post, Zoe.
     
  14. sargon20

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    Another 5-4 ruling with Kennedy being the 'swing vote'.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    Yeah, it actually makes me a little queasy to see which justices I'm agreeing with on this one.

    Toni Scalia actually had his thought processes going in the right direction for once, basically saying "gun bans may seem like a good idea, may even be a good idea, but are contrary to the constitution, and the constitution is supreme."

    Stevie-boy Breyer missed the mark, and shirked his responsibility as a supreme court justice, when he said (basically) "I don't care what the constitution says, guns are bad. I can find no legal basis for upholding the second amendment."
     
  16. D_Marazion Analdouche

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    I've been a gun owner since I was a child, well at that time they were guns my father owned, but you get the point. I have a concealed weapons permit in two states, NH and MA. If I was able to I would have sex with my HK P2000 .40, but that's another thread.

    I do not have an issue with long waiting periods, mandatory firearm safety courses etc before obtaining a permit. Nor do I have an issue with making said courses mandatory to even purchase a firearm. That ability varies from state to state. In NH once you an adult you can more or less by a anti-aircraft battery without anyone blinking, a state I like to call little Texas.

    I also am not a NRA extremist, I completely agree with the assault weapons ban, it should be a crime alone just to own one. You don't need a Tec-9 or an AK-47 to go hunting with. If Canada ever decides to invade us we can just throw Molson Golden at them, we don't need a "militia".

    Here is something I always have chuckled at:



    I mean a silencer? I've been in combat and as I mentioned an avid gun owner. I cannot think of a self defense situation where I would need a silencer. Maybe people want to do some target practice in the basement while their loved ones are sleeping?

    As Zoe mentioned, a complete gun ban would just keep firearms in the hands of criminals. Taking them away from law abiding citizens does nothing to prevent crime on a type of level to make a difference. I say that because obviously there are people that go through the proper channels for gun ownership and may take out someone because they snapped. However this type of perons would more than likely still kill if they just had a whiffle ball bat.
     
  17. 1BiGG1

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    Wow, it sounds like you are trying really hard to be poster girl for Ultra-Liberal Soccer Mom Of The Year here!

    “Assault guns” are the liberal’s favorite scary words to frighten those who know nothing about guns. Considering there are hunting rifles that are much bigger and much more powerful (making them much “scarier” LOL!) then your typical assault rifle I’m surprised anybody is lame enough to buy into such nonsense.

    That and it’s none of you business if somebody else wants to own and/or hunt with an AR-15 instead of a 30.06 and speak for yourself when saying we don’t need a militia. It’s not like the government including the military, state & local police have the capability to protect US in all scenarios and we cannot form a militia if needed using steak knives and sticks.


    Just because you don’t see a need doesn’t mean the possibility for a need doesn’t exist. Societies falling are not exactly a new concept on the planet and this one is not immune from the possibility anymore than any other.

    How long did it take the law to restore order after the hurricane in New Orleans? That disaster was but a small blip when thinking about what could happen on a larger scale and if the need arises there could be many reasons for their use. The military certainly likes them for our guys not getting shot back at, the same could easily hold true for civilian’s right here in the good ol’ USA at any time.
     
  18. D_Marazion Analdouche

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    In my 36 years, that's the first time anyone has ever made any referrence to me being a possible liberal. You extremists on the left and the right never seize to amaze me.



    It's not about a bigger caliber or being more powerful. The issue I have is a semi-automatic weapons, most are not calibers that are useful in a hunting scenerio. I have not come across anyone in a deerstand using a Tec-9.

    .


    Ok, so what is a militia going to protect us from that state/fed/local law enforcement cannot? Home and self defense do not count since that is covered under carrying a personal firearm which I obviously don't have an issue with.

    Or are you one of those people that gets together with the other boys in the woods dressing up in camo talking about the evil gubmint?

    There is no need for a private citizen to own a silencer, period. It has one purpose and one purpose only, to kill someone without anyone knowing where the shot came from and or suppressing that it was even fired at all. In a home or self defense situation this is not needed.



    In that situation (if you're talking about looting etc) explain to me why a shotgun, glock, etc wouldn't work?

    Hey you never do know though, maybe someday it will be like the movie Tremors and Mr. Keaton will have to break out his M82 again.

    And pssst I'm not a liberal.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    Yeah, Wartrac, that was good for a chuckle - you, the ultra-liberal.

    Actually, I agree entirely with your assessment. I see nothing wrong with mandatory education and registration being tied to gun ownership, but I certainly don't recognize the authority of any government to deny me that ownership.
     
  20. D_Marazion Analdouche

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    Yeah I almost spit my water all over my screen when I read that one. I consider myself a moderate independant, but I get labeled right or left depending on the topic. So I'm used to it.

    Anywho, you're exactly right DC, I think it is our right to own and bear arms. But it isn't 1776 anymore either, where owning a weapon in a lot of cases was crucial to your survival. Not only for protection but to provide for your family etc.

    I am not denying the right to carry a firearm, but you must be trained. You have to go through a 8 week class in a lot of states to get a drivers license, but you can walk into a gunshop, wait three-six days and walk out with a firearm.....yeah that makes sense.
     
    #20 D_Marazion Analdouche, Jun 27, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
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