IPFS Mike Renzulli

More About: Gun Rights

Justices Rule for Individual Gun Rights?

The U.S. Supreme Court just handed down a historic decision striking down Washington D.C.'s gun ban while affirming the right to bear arms as an individual right.
As much as I consider their reporting to be top-notch, unfortunately, The New York Times is trying to downplay the decision's effect by quoting certain sections of it that fit the paper's anti-gun bias.
The decision itself is interesting and I encourage you to read it.
 There is still the below nagging quote The Times cites that leads me to belive that D.C. vs. Heller may not be the victory gun rights advocates and the case's plaintiffs had hoped for:
Nothing in our opinion should 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.
Overall, D.C. vs. Heller is a mixed bag since, on the one hand, the court struck down the District of Columbia's gun ownership ban and trigger lock requirement but it seems that the District's gun license and registration laws and other regulatory schemes, like concealed carry permits may withstand court challenges.
I am glad at the very least that D.C. vs. Heller affirms the right to bear arms as an individual right which was the intent of the people who drafted the Second Amendment.
If someone is denied their ability to bear arms by municipal victim disarmament laws, as a result of D.C. vs. Heller, it is my hope that, despite what I quoted from the decision above, that the constitutionality of  gun laws, like gun licensing and registration, can be subject to a constitutional challenge and struck down using this decision.
I am also in awe at liberals who, on the one hand, correctly interpret the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments affirming free speech and privacy rights while preventing government from inflicting cruel and unusual punishments, such as the death penalty, yet turn a blind eye to the 2nd.
The same with conservatives who favor the 2nd (while saying the right to bear arms is subject to reasonable regulations), 5th, 9th and 10th Amendments, while ignoring the 1st, 4th, and 8th.
It is time for people to reject the idea that they can have their cake and eat it too. Conservatives and liberals need to realize that the Bill of Rights is an affirmation of the rights of the individual for a variety of freedoms they possess as a part of their natural right to life.
The Bill of Rights is not a document people can cherry pick to justify their positions on certain issues yet ignore others in their bias against certain personal activities such as owning guns; consuming drugs, prostitution, and adult entertainment.
In this case, it is to affirm the natural, individual right of self-preservation by people protecting themselves with firearms.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Anonymous
Entered on:
In a nutshell: the majority opinion failed to decide the meaning of the key final phrase of the Second Amendment "shall not be infringed."

Remember how we say: "What part of 'shall not be infringed' don't you understand?"

As Mr. Renzulli points out, the majority opinion suggests that nearly all manner of infringements are allowed under their reading of the Second Amendment.

Unless the lower courts interpret the Heller decision as broadly affecting "gun control" laws, the Heller decision will end up being an interesting but legally meaningless precedent.

Even this supposedly favorable "conservative" Supreme Court could not state the obvious: that "shall not be infringed" is a strong prohibition, not to be weakened by any modern day politician or judge's personal opinion.

Americans can use the Heller decision as an educational tool -- proof that "we" were right all along about the right to keep and bear arms -- to help bring people to this understanding.

The job of ensuring courts and politicians recognize and protect our rights, however, is nowhere near over.