The Supreme Court Takes On the Second Amendment

The last time the Supreme Court entertained a 2nd amendment case was almost 70 years ago. At that time they focused on minutiae around the concept of a militia, and concluded that the 2nd amendment only applies to types of firearms that would be pertinent to the preservation of a well-regulated militia. They did not address whether the right iself applies to all individuals, or only those belonging to a militia, perhaps assuming that was clear enough in context. Nevertheless, that ruling has bolstered the anti-gun lobby by focusing on the militia aspect of the 2nd amendment, rather than acknowledging the imperative that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Perhaps, this time, the Supreme Court will get it right. Or perhaps not. It’s always a crap shoot when the Supreme Court takes up interpretation of a Constitutional amendment. Once they rule, either all of us win or all of us lose. However, if they’re going to undertake it, better to have them do it now. The next administration may pack the court with liberals who would rule that the amendment doesn’t apply to individuals at all, and only those belonging to a state militia (e.g., National Guard) have the right to keep or bear arms.

Those who argue that the 2nd amendment does not apply to individuals base their argument on the ambiguous wording of the dangling participle at the beginning of the amendment, which refers to “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” It is not clear from the wording in the amendment whether that participle represents a condition upon which the right to keep and bear arms is contingent, or an example of a reason why the right was considered important. Nothing in the text of the amendment specifies that the existence of a militia is a required condition for the people to maintain their right to keep and bear arms. Neither does it say that is the only reason why this right should be protected. It simply mentions the importance of a militia, and then leaves it dangling. The grammatical taboo against dangling participles lies in their inherent ambiguity. Now that the framers of the amendment are long gone, there’s no way to clarify with absolute certainty what they intended, — at least not by simply by reading the text of the amendment itself.

Therefore, to understand their intended meaning, one must look further than that specific amendment, and take into account the context in which it was written, specifically the fact that it was included in the Bill of Rights. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to secure protection for individual rights from infringement by the government. If all of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights are intended to secure the rights of individuals, why would the framers have slipped one in that had nothing to do with securing the rights of the individual, but rather applied to some abstract collective body?

The same people who want to wield a dangling participle to abridge our individual rights also claim that the term “the people,” as used in the 2nd amendment, does not refer to individuals, but rather to the collective population, or representatives thereof (e.g., the militia). The 4th amendment also refers to “the right of the people” to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. Would anybody seriously argue that the 4th amendment does not protect the right of individuals to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure, but rather the right of some abstract body that represents the collective population? Perhaps what the founding fathers really meant was that only the police should be secure against unreasonable search and seizure…

Given the context of the 2nd amendment, and its prominent inclusion in the Bill of Rights, it could not be more clear that it refers to the rights of individuals. It would have had to have been included by accident if it truly had the singular characteristic that it, alone among the amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights, was not intended to protect the rights of individuals from being infringed by government.


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  1. “It’s always a crap shoot when the Supreme Court takes up interpretation of a Constitutional amendment. Once they rule, either all of us win or all of us lose.”

    How so? I don’t think there is 100 percent agreement on the issue. You may say “all of us lose” but such a decision may make a lot of people happy.

  2. The militia argument is a little more complex than what you present. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/usc_sec_10_00000311—-000-.html

    It’s important not to try and parse out portions of the Second Amendment that you like, while ignoring others that might seem inconvenient. I think the gun rights lobby will be taking one on the chin soon, but we’ll see.

    It’s also important to remember that even if it turns out that you all don’t have a constitutional right to own a gun doesn’t mean that you can’t own a gun, period…to defend yourself, recreate, collect, do your job, etc.. No constitutional rights that I’m aware of are universal or absolute.

    We can spend the rest of eternity trying to get into the heads of people that have been dead for over 200 years…I don’t think it’s going to get us very far.

    ;)

  3. Wigglesworth, it may indeed make some people happy but, nevertheless, a loss of Constitutional rights is a loss for everybody.

  4. Mr. Guy, please go back and read all the way to the end of the post. I also arrived at the conclusion that it’s futile to attempt to resolve this issue by parsing the text of the 2nd amendment.

    The only way to understand the intent is to take it in context – that is, in the context of the Bill of Rights. All of the amendments therein are intended to protect the rights of individuals from infringement by the government. Unless the 2nd amendment was included by mistake, that is clearly its intent as well.

  5. Hey, I always read the whole post before I tell you you’re full of baloney…lol… ;)

    Nice try…the Second Amendment is all about people having the right to bear arms in order to help defend the USA from attack. If you aren’t a part of the “militia” (and we could go round and round on that issue…I’ve done it before in other right-wing blogs), you’re out of luck, I think, in the “constitutional right to own a gun” department. That’s only *part* of what this D.C. case is about BTW.

  6. Mr. Guy, are there any other amendments in the Bill of Rights that you do not believe apply to individuals? Perhaps you feel that freedom of speech only applies to newspapers?

    The reason the Bill of Rights was drafted was because several of the founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, felt the Constitution itself offered no protection for the rigths of individuals from usurpation by the federal government. They Bill of Rights was implemented specifically to protect individual rights.

    Now you’re claiming that one of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights does not apply to individuals. Do you suppose that one somehow got slipped in by accident when nobody was looking?

  7. I didn’t write the Second Amendment. I didn’t choose the words that are there…neither did you. I think what those words mean will be decided by those in our court system, who are hopefully much more learned than you or I…hopefully…

    If I’m in the leather district in NYC (near where one of my cousins live), does that mean that every shop that I run into in that neighborhood will be a leather store? There will be no other shops, restaurants, etc.? Come on now…your “lets look at the way the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights are worded and have been interpreted before” is a novel idea, but that doesn’t make it valid. I’ve heard much stronger arguments from pro-gun people than that.

    What about the other two Articles that were originally included in the Bill of Rights but were either never passed or not passed until 1992? Did those have to do with individual rights too? No.

    Are there reasonable limits on freedom of speech? Can you just say whatever you want to, whenever & however you want to…libel laws and rioting be damned? No.

  8. I’m not referring to “the way the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights have been interpreted before.” I’m referring to the historic purpose of the Bill of Rights, which was explicity to protect individual rights and liberties. I did not make that up. It’s well documented. Are you familiar with the Federalist and anti-Federalist movements of the time?

    The fact that two of the proposed articles were not ratified as part of the Bill of Rights was because they were not consistent with its overall intent, and so were not deemed salient. This lends even more weight to how seriously they took the unifying purpose of the Bill of Rights, and to the fact that those amendments that were ratified as the Bill of Rights were consistent in that regard.

    You can attempt to rewrite history, and pretend that the first ten amendments are just a bunch of random articles with no unifying purpose. You can ignore the stated purpose for which the anti-federalists insisted on their inclusion in order to ratify the Constitution. But ignoring historical data doesn’t change or invalidate it. It’s simply too well documented for that tactic to be effective.

  9. Yes, I am familiar with the movements of the time. Your argument is still very weak IMO…I would expect a better one from you actually…but no matter.

    “The fact that two of the proposed articles were not ratified as part of the Bill of Rights was because they were not consistent with its overall intent, and so were not deemed salient.”

    Who’s attempting to rewrite history now?

  10. NYD, I disagree with you. What you are calling a loss of a Constitutional right COULD be nothing more than a clarification of improperly applied rights to individuals as decided by the Supreme Court, which of course is their job. If that is the determination then the only thing “lost” would be something that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

  11. NotYourDaddy,
    Just becausr Mister Guy cannot see the logic of your arguments does not mean the rest of the world can’t… I am pretty sure most people understand that they are “individual” bill of rights not “Group” bill of rights. Either way I will always own a Gun. I may have to help a malitia some day…

  12. To quote Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    That the 2nd amendment was designed to give people the right to defend themselves against a foreign attacker is not only pointless (because, in such a case where the government was unable to conscript or build an army to defend itself, the constitution is pretty much out-the-door anyways) but completely ignores the fact that the constitution is a document to enumerate and limit the powers of the government in almost every way. Given the attitude of the founders (who had just used force to overthrow their tyrants-du-jour), the fierce independence of the colonies so recently united, and the system of checks-and-balances not only between branches of government but between people and their government, I find it surprising to think that the 2nd amendment isn’t an unequivocal affirmation of individual and states’ rights.

  13. It is eminantly clear that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow for an armed populace, one with the power to dispose of a corrupt government.

    All of the writings of ALL of the founders makes their distaste and mistrust of the coercive power of government entirely clear. They painstakingly constructed our government with limitations in mind. The colonists were used to being forced to habor British soldiers in their homes and it was one of the driving forces behind the revolution.

    The US government was the first of its kind that had ever been tried, and all of its founders were aware of the inherent tendency for governance to decay to the point of oppressiveness… and were doing their best to design a system that would resist that. Securing the perpetual right of an ARMED populace to act as a check to the entire government was an intentional part of this plan.

  14. A lot of the above is some of what I was refering to before. The “militia” angle is much more widely used to justify a constitutional right to own a gun. A lot of people think that they are in the “unorganized militia”…waiting for a call to arms that will never come.

    Also, the act of self-defense is well respected in our system of govt….this isn’t the UK.

    Also, a few states have constitutions that apparently guarantee the rights of their citizens to own guns.

    An irrational fear of the govt. is also quite prevalent in the gun-toting right-wing. They think they can take down the govt. by force if they really wanted to or needed to.

  15. “irrational fear of the govt.” got a chuckle out of me. There were over 100M people killed by their own governments last century (see http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.CHAP1.HTM for some useful references). Our form of government, including the bill of rights, was designed to keep us from sliding to the totalitarian side of things. Whenever the power of the people (whether that power comes in the form of the vote, free speech, property ownership, self defense, or whatever) is transferred to the power of the government, you edge away from democracy.

    Choose your entanglement — Katrina, World Trade riots, LA riots, etc. :
    Government representatives say “trust us, we’ll protect you. Just be patient… there are a few important people we have to see to first…”

  16. Well, I’m certainly glad that we didn’t make the “Fifteen Most Lethal Regimes”…lol…and I agree that we need to work together to make sure that we don’t get a totalitarian regime here in the USA. How many citizens got killed during the “World Trade riots” that weren’t rioting in the first place BTW?

  17. Don’t know of any non-rioters (or rioters) killed in the “World Trade riots”. Do know that the response when calling 911 was along the lines of “we’re kinda busy right now… we’ll get there as soon as we can”.

    Goes back to the point that individuals can’t rely on the “trust us, we’ll protect you” during out-of-the-ordinary emergencies.

    I realize I inadvertantly gave you the all-or-nothing argument line. I was more trying to point out that trusting *any* government completely for your own safety only works if your important enough to the government to be protected (e.g., any politician who has a bodyguard).

  18. “That the 2nd amendment was designed to give people the right to defend themselves”

    If this is our line of reasoning — that government is the source of rights — then Mister Guy may have a point. However, the Constitution gives no rights, except the statutory rights to vote and run for federal office. Nor does government have the ability to grant any “right” other than statutory.

    The other “rights” mentioned are antecedent to the Constitution. They exist due to our nature as human beings, often called “natural” rights. These cannot be given up or taken away (i.e. unalienable rights). Government may punish the exercise of those Rights, but it cannot erase them.

    The first Right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, “Life” with its inherent Right to self-defense, drives ownership of weapons. This bit of political philosophy was consistent through the founding of the country.

    That Congress has neglected its Art. I §16 duties has no bearing on the matter.

    One thing I recently discovered was missing text to the Bill of Rights, which makes the purpose of the 2nd (and other) Amendment quite clear: to further restrict the Federal government.

    http://sictransitgloriamundi.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/the-ill-of-rights/

    That the Federal government daily and as a matter of course abuses its powers is a whole different topic, but this common practice does not justify punishing the exercise of, nor can it erase, “natural” rights.

    People could spend more time reading what the Founders read and referenced to supplement what the Founders wrote.

  19. Our rights do not come from the govt. (or from God BTW)! I agree that we all have rights because we are all human beings. The Declaration of Independence is *not* the document that setup our system of govt….that’s the U.S. Constitution.

    The police response to the “riots” in Seattle was overdone. They caused more violence than they stopped IMO. If they had eased off, there would have been more of them available to deal with those 911 calls IMO.

  20. For some interesting reading, take a gander at the list of riots on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_riots) and the wide variety of riots for all sorts of reasons. I had forgotten an awful lot about the Watts Riot.

    The WTO entry included a bit about how police response was delayed… “Seattle police, led by Chief Norm Stamper, did not react immediately, however, because they had been convinced by protest organizers during the protest-permit process that peaceful organizers would quell these kinds of activities.”

    Interesting reading.

  21. “All of the amendments therein are intended to protect the rights of individuals from infringement by the government. Unless the 2nd amendment was included by mistake, that is clearly its intent as well.”

    – EXACTLY!! We need guns, at least 5, 6, hell maybe 10 per family to protect us from the government, just in case it decides to get uppity! I gots mine, best get your own guns. The government’s coming to git you! I’m telling you they’re getting ready to create the AMERO Dollar, plant IDRF chips in us and go to a completely digital financial system with the Death Star (The Fed) watching all over us! Get your guns to protect yourself from the government. It’ll happen any day, right before the second coming of Christ and Armageddon and Ragnarok!

    The ONLY way to “Protect your rights from the infringement of the government” is through a gun. Forget about education, gettin a job or even learnin your math. The gun’s the best way to make yourself heard!

    I got mine, get them before Hillary gets in office and takes your only voice away by force.

  22. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in what I intended to convey. Thank you for calling that to my attention, Batman. When I referred to the second amendment protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the government, what I meant was not that we need to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves from the government, but rather that the purpose of the amendment is to protect our right to keep and bear arms from being outlawed by the government.

    I realize that the militia argument does have its roots in fear of government, but I’m not a big fan of the militia argument. I see it as merely a convenient example of one reason the founding fathers felt it was important for this right to be protected, but not the sole justification for it. One has an intrinsic right to self defense. (If one has an inalienable right to life and liberty, one certainly has an inalienable right to defend one’s life and liberty.) Firearms, today, are widely used for self defense, as well as for sport (pursuit of happiness).

    I never suggested that a gun was the only way to protect one’s rights — though, in some circumstances, it may be the only way to protect one’s life. Be that as it may, you do have a charming way with hyperbole, and you’re welcome to spout it about over here in Daddyland, any time. You’re quite the colorful character.

  23. A few measly guns won’t do anything to stop the federal govt….you’re living in a fantasy world of fear. Now, the AMERO might be on the horizon and chips are already being placed into new immigration/Homeland Security/federal employee cards &, I heard, U.S. passports.

    “The gun’s the best way to make yourself heard!”

    If you want to get thrown in jail or killed maybe.

  24. Insofar as the text of the 2nd Amenment is ambiguous, the only means of statutory enterpretation available is by way of reference to the historical context and a review of how earlier courts have entrepreted the statute.

    The U.S. Supreme Court first mentioned the right involved in 1856 in “Scott v. Stanford.” This is the famous Dred Scott decision. Addressing the question of whether slaves in a “free state” enjoyed the rights of other free men, the Court opined: “For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens . . . . . It would give to persons of the negro race . . . . the right to enter every other State . . . .and it would give to them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to KEEP AND CARRY ARMS WHEREVER THEY WENT.”

    It would seem fairly clear to me that 150 years ago, the Supreme Court saw the 2nd Amendment right every bit as personal a one as the right to free speech and political assembly.

    The “militia” concept was not defined until the Supreme Court of the Confederacy did so during the Civil War enterpreting a similar provision in the Constitution of the Confederacy.

  25. Thanks for the history lesson, Jackson! That’s an excellent point.

  26. The problem is that there’s been plenty of case law between the 1850-60s and now on the Second Amendment & the militia argument, and you’re conviently ignoring it.

  27. I didn’t mean to, Mr. Guy. From 1819 through 1990, the Supreme Court has touched on issues potentially relating to the interpretation some 14 times. Beginning with Sturges v. Crowninshield (4 Wheat. 122)which lays the ground rules for Constitutional interpretation through United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259 which explains the meaning of the term of art “the people” as used throughout the Constitution. (Which is remarkably consistent with the analysis offered by NotYourDaddy.)

    The only case to directly address the 2nd Amendment was United States v. Miller in 1939, 307 U.S. 174 occasioned by the Federal Firearms Act.

    My point is that when they have spoken about it, they have been consistent in their description of a personal right.

    Also, back in 1982, a special investigation was undertaken the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. After an exhaustive inquiry and hearing lots of “expert” opinions, the conclusion was that:

    “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by ever major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private person to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”

    There are three important historic justifications for the amendment: a legal tradition found throughout the legal systems of the West favoring the right to self-defense, a peculiar English tradition of favoring a citizen militia as opposed to hated standing armies, and the unique American tradition of preserving the right and means to rebel against a tyrannical government. Granted that the militia concept is obsolete and the potential of a successful armed rebellion against today’s government is beyond naive, there still remains the important right to self-defense. Accordingly, I don’t believe the amendment is obsolete.

  28. Very well stated, Jackson.

    Mr. Guy, do you have a rebuttal? Or are you not as familiar with 2nd amendment case law as Jackson obviously is?

  29. Well, I’m not a lawyer. My understanding is that the Miller case in 1939 is the pretty much the key case, and the gun rights side in the D.C. case has cited the Dred Scott decision, which I don’t think is going to get them anywhere that they want to go. I doubt that my interpretation of the Miller case would match yours though, but so what…we’re not on the Supreme Court.

    The key issues, I think, is can the govt. regulate firearms ownership at all (as well as settling the militia arguments), and the other issue has to deal with D.C. not really being a state in the first place. It’s an important case for sure, and I have confidence that the Supreme Court will do the right thing.

    I don’t argue at all that one shouldn’t be able to defend one’s self, but whether or not you have a *Constitutional* right to own a gun outside of a militia to defend the USA is, I think, pretty clear…we’ll see though…

  30. Just a couple of points, Mr. Guy.

    As I mentioned, the Miller case is the only case wherein the Court directly addressed the 2nd Amendment rather than simply referencing it in asides they call “dicta.” If you know the history of that case, it might shatter some illusions about the Court.

    When the feds passed the Federal Firearms Act which prohibited the possession of a machinegun or a sawed off shotgun without a permit, one Miller was arrested for possession of a sawed off shotgun. At trial at the District Court he was acquitted on the basis that the Act violated the 2nd amendment. Released, he promptly disappeared and was never heard of again.

    The feds took an immediate appeal which the S. Ct. agreed to hear. The feds filed a brief. No one participated on the side of Miller or the 2nd Amendment. I read the only brief submitted by the feds. (It is available in any of the Federal Repositories.) The brief speaks only to the S. Ct’s jurisdiction to hear the case. Not one word of argument speaking to the constitutionality issue. And there was no brief by anyone arguing what our rights might be.

    The ruling in the case is peculiar. The Ct. found that insofar as a sawed-off shotgun had no use or relation to any military or militia use, it was outside the scope of the amendment’s prohibition.

    Inverting that rule, weapons with a military application, such as machine guns and assault rifles, should be within its scope. Knowing the Miller rule, it is perfectly clear why the S. Ct. has steadfastly refused to hear any appeal regarding assault rifle or machine gun proscription.

    In all, it is not a case to inspire a great deal of confidence in the S. Ct. It has the odor and feel of a backroom deal with a ruling being issued in the dark of night.

    At least the D.C. case will be fully argued. I take that as a good thing for our constitutional rights.

    As to the regulatory power of the government, you get no quarrel from me. The first State high court to address the issue was the S. Ct. of Kentucky in 1822. Bliss v. Commonwealth, 2 Littel’s Rep 90. It interpreted a similar provision in the State constitution and concluded.

    “The right existed at the adoption of the constitution; it then had no limits short of the moral power of the citizens to exercise it, and it in fact consisted in nothing else but the liberty of the citizens to bear arms. Diminish that liberty, therefore, and you necessarily restrain the right . . . “

  31. Thank you again, Jackson, for sharing your expertise on this subject. It’s very refreshing to hear facts and historical data, with sources to back them up. (I try to do my research, but you clearly have a much greater depth of knowledge and experience in this area than I do.) Much appreciated!

  32. Like I said, we’re not going to agree on what Miller said…so what? I’ll take the Miller case over Dred Scott in terms of “odor” any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  33. Mr Guy.
    Why are all you commie liberals wantin to take away our god given rights to bear arms? It really perturbs me that you just don’t see the logic in having more guns to protect ourselves from criminals who have guns.

    It doesn’t matter if “Approximately 70% of the total murders in the US are committed with firearms, vs. about 30% in Canada.” Because we’re talkin about our rights! Don’t you get it. It’s people like you who keep fighting the Patriot Act, wanting to take away our civil rights, letting the terrorists and Mexicans come in with their guns selling their drugs! WHY DO YOU HATE THE TROOPS and why do you hate America??

    The fact that Canada has banned Automatic Weapons and that they have a lower crime rate per capita has absolutely nothing to do with our God Given, Constitutional right to bear arms. Just as Not Yer Daddy said, “what I meant was not that we need to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves from the government, but rather that the purpose of the amendment is to protect our right to keep and bear arms from being outlawed by the government.” What he’s making oh-so clear to you terrorist lovin liberals is that the 2nd Amendment is there to protect our God Given right.

    Don’t you get it?? We don’t want our guns taken so we make it a right, not a privilege like health care, but a RIGHT to have our guns. We need the 2nd Amendment there so the government won’t take our guns. How else are we supposed to protect them? Without the 2nd Amendment, we’d be just like Canada… with no automatic weapons and more people on the highway makin me late fer work!

    And I have worked way too hard to become head boxboy at Albertsons to let some commie liberal like you take away my guns and make me late for work!

  34. Golly, Batman, I’m sure glad you’ve seen the light. I was starting to think you were one of those terrorist lovin’ commie liberals to whom you refer…

  35. None of your rights come from God…you have rights because you are a human being, period. When someone “gives” you rights…they can take them away too.

    “It doesn’t matter if ‘Approximately 70% of the total murders in the US are committed with firearms, vs. about 30% in Canada.'”

    Yes it does. I’ve yet to hear you gun-rights guys explain away the difference between the USA and Canada yet.

    “It’s people like you who keep fighting the Patriot Act, wanting to take away our civil rights, letting the terrorists and Mexicans come in with their guns selling their drugs! WHY DO YOU HATE THE TROOPS and why do you hate America??”

    Why don’t you ask me how often I beat my wife while you’re at it? :) The USA Patriot Act was an obomination that was sneaked into law and was an attack on *all* our civil liberties. The govt. needs to know what books I read…without getting a warrant or me even being able to know about their inquiry? I don’t think so! While I’m happy that you differenciate between terrorists (bad) and Mexicans (job seekers), I’m for sealing the border…I don’t think it’s gonna work the way that you guys on the Right think it will, but let’s give it a try anyways. I STRONGLY support our troops, which is why I want them brought home immediately from a USELESS war that was based on lies and should have never been fought in the first place. I don’t love terrorists BTW…lol…

    Canada is a free country too, and no one is out to take your guns from your cold, dead (or warm, alive) hands.

    “more people on the highway makin me late fer work!”

    What does this mean?

    “And I have worked way too hard to become head boxboy at Albertsons to let some commie liberal like you take away my guns and make me late for work!”

    LOL…did you guys ever settle that labor dispute you were havin’ with them…or was that not all of the Albertsons out west?

  36. Mr. Guy said, “Like I said, we’re not going to agree on what Miller said…so what? I’ll take the Miller case over Dred Scott in terms of “odor” any day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

    What the Miller case said is not open to disagreement. It is an historic document. You can read what it says. Go to findlaw.com, look for Supreme Court cases, plug in 307 US 174.

    The thing about historic facts is their reality. You’re entitled to all the opinions, quirks, and personal likes you want. However, a self-proclaimed superior enlightenment does not entitle you to pick and choose your facts.

    It is possible that I might not like the result in Roe v. Wade. However, it is a real decision determining constitutional rights. If I really do not like it, my only option is to get the constitution changed by way of amendment. The 2nd amendment presents the same sort of problem. If you believe times have changed and we can no longer afford a right to have and bear arms, your option is a new amendment to the constitution. You have no intellectual justification to misrepresent what is says or what the courts have said about it.

  37. Mr. Guy, I believe Mr. Batman was being sarcastic.

    Mr. Batman, perhaps you should consider including closed captions for the irony-impaired.

    Mr. Jackson, it’s so nice to hear a rational voice, calmly laying down facts, while the liberals flail around blasting each other with friendly fire…

  38. I wasn’t sure either way about Batman myself. :)

    “What the Miller case said is not open to disagreement. It is an historic document.”

    Sure…and lawyers & judges don’t argue about what previous case law really meant all the time in this country…yea right. Give me a break…I might not be a lawyer, but I’m not stupid.

  39. Mr. Guy: You are confusing what was said for what was meant. You are perfectly entitled to put whatever spin you want upon what was actually said, limited only by the dictates of logic and common sense. You are not entitled to misrepresent what was said.

    Even a lawyer has to point to language in the decision (facts, if you will) that support his particular spin.

    End of the day, there is no language in Miller that supports the inference that the “right” envisioned in the 2nd amendment is exclusively a collective right to a militia.

    Read the decision.

  40. Look, I am not a lawyer, but I’ve been involved in court cases before. Lawyers twist the “thruth” by quoting only portions of case law and citing case law that has no real relevance to the case at hand all the time.

    If Miller was as clear cut on your side of the fence, why would the Brady Campaign people be using it to support their side? I’ve already read the decison BTW…a long time ago. This isn’t a court of law, and we’re not going to decide the D.C. case here. Get over it…

  41. An issue of “Don’t confuse me with the facts?”

  42. No, an issue of…who the hell cares what Jackson and Mister Guy sez…they’re never going to be on the Supreme Court, period.

  43. […] presents The Supreme Court Takes On the Second Amendment posted at Government is not your Daddy, saying, “It’s always a crap shoot when the Supreme […]

  44. Though I think handguns should be banned, the ambiguity of the 2nd Amendment leaves the right open. In that case the Court made the right call. If America wants to ban handguns we will need to pass a constitutional amendment. http://parkateer.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/does-the-2nd-amendment-give-me-the-right-to-own-an-f-22/

  45. It’s clear what the authors of the Bill of Rights meant and the Supreme Court just affirmed it. If you want to change the law then change the Bill of Rights. The court or at least 5 member of the court applied the law properly.
    I am tired of totalitarian judges who base rulings on their personal opinion of what they think is good policy. Here is a novel idea, let the people we ELECT make policy and confine judges to interpereting the law. I wonder if our founding fathers thought of that idea…oh yea THEY DID!


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