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Monday, November 26, 2007

Individuals are the people

From Debbie at Right Truth

"For the first time in history we could get a definitive ruling on what the Second Amendment really means, ... "Gun rights is going to become a centerpiece of the 2008 presidential race, whether these guys like it or not." That's a quote from Dave Workman, an editor at Gun Week in Bellevue, Wash. taken from this Christian Science Monitor article.
Funny. I've never been confused about the interpretation of the Second Amendment, have you?

Some folks are saying that only Militias or Military should carry weapons. That's not what the Constitution says.

The potential landmark case is the first time since 1939 that the Supreme Court will confront whether the Second Amendment protects an individual's right of gun ownership or merely a collective right to keep and bear arms while serving in a state militia.

The answer is important because it could set the ground rules for gun-control laws across the country. If the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, it will limit government efforts to restrict the prevalence of guns among law-abiding citizens. Gun-control efforts would have to be reasonably related to a government interest, and entire categories of firearms – like handguns – could not be banned. (ATF)

"This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. In March, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared unconstitutional the District's near-total ban on handgun possession. That 2-1 ruling, written by Judge Laurence Silberman, found that when the Second Amendment spoke of the 'right of the people,' it meant the right of 'individuals,' and not some 'collective right' held only by state governments or the National Guard.

"That stirring conclusion was enough to prompt the D.C. government to declare Judge Silberman outside 'the mainstream of American jurisprudence' in its petition to the Supreme Court. We've certainly come to an interesting legal place if asserting principles that appear nowhere in the Constitution is considered normal, but it's beyond the pale to interpret the words that are in the Constitution to mean what they say." [snip]

The phrase "the right of the people" or some variation of it appears repeatedly in the Bill of Rights, and nowhere does it actually mean "the right of the government." When the Bill of Rights was written and adopted, the rights that mattered politically were of one sort -- an individual's, or a minority's, right to be free from interference from the state. Today, rights are most often thought of as an entitlement to receive something from the state, as opposed to a freedom from interference by the state. The Second Amendment is, in our view, clearly a right of the latter sort. (continue reading at Wall Street Journal )

Amen and Amen !