February 1, 2009
This is what happens when you sit back on your ass and let liberals shred your rights and laws.
England, sadly, you are getting the government you deserve.
January 16, 2008
Saul Cornell: The Second Amendment Goes to Court
Source: Origins (2-1-08)
Few issues in America public life are more emotionally charged than guns and no subject within this political maelstrom is more bitterly contested than the Second Amendment. Although it is hard to imagine this issue heating up any further, it is about to get red-hot.
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the District of Columbia’s local gun-control law on Second Amendment grounds. The D.C. Court is only the second Appeals Court to affirm that the Second Amendment protects an individual (as opposed to collective) right to bear arms, and the first one to actually strike down an existing gun control law on this basis. The case is now heading to the Supreme Court, which has not taken a Second Amendment case in almost seventy years. District of Columbia v Heller will likely shape the contours of future discussions of gun control for decades to come.
It might even have an impact on the dynamics of the 2008 presidential election. For better or worse, history—the history of the 2nd amendment and the history of how Americans have interpreted it—is also likely to be at the heart of the case.
The Second Amendment reads: “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.” What do these words mean? Well, the answer to this question depends on who you ask. Supporters of the so-called collective rights interpretation believe that the Second Amendment only protects the right to bear arms within the context of well regulated militias. Supporters of the so-called “individual right” interpretation view the right to bear arms as a right vested in individuals, much like the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.
The fact that there are two such divergent interpretations is the result of significant changes in how Americans view the 2nd Amendment that occurred during the latter part of the twentieth century. For most of the last century, the meaning of the Second Amendment was not particularly controversial: the courts, legal scholars, politicians, and historians endorsed some version of the collective rights interpretation. As late as 1991, Chief Justice Warren Burger described the individual rights view as an intellectual fraud. Yet, the growth of a revisionist individual rights theory of the Second Amendment in the years since Burger made his comment has been nothing short of astonishing….
No First Amendment scholar would argue that we ought to interpret freedom of the press exactly as the Founders understood it. Yet, claims like this are common in Second Amendment scholarship where the original meaning of the Amendment seems to figure more centrally than in other areas of constitutional law. In part the propensity toward originalism—the theory that we ought to interpret the Constitution according to its original meaning—mirrors the ideology of modern conservative thought. Originalism fits with conservatism because it provides a strong critique of the modern regulatory state created after the New Deal. Second Amendment originalism also draws on a potent set of myths associated with America’s past, particularly the idea of the Minuteman. Thus, gun rights sites on the internet invariably carry images of the Minuteman. (Although these images are generally drawn from the individualistic and romantic 19th century memorials to the Minuteman and have little to do with the real Minutemen who were part of the Founding era’s well regulated militia.) http://www.gunowners.org/
Ironically, the originalist arguments in favor of an individual rights view of the Second Amendment are probably the intellectually weakest arguments to support this position. One could make a much stronger and intellectually more interesting argument in support of an individual rights view if one adopted a living constitution argument. Supporters of a living constitution believe we ought to interpret the Constitution according to modern concerns and beliefs, recognizing that America has changed radically since the 18th century. Polling data over the last few decades have consistently shown that most Americans believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right. http://www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm
It would be easy to imagine a theory of the 2nd Amendment that defended this right as part of a living Constitution that has evolved toward a more individualistic conception of rights. Yet, most gun rights advocates eschew this line of argument in favor of originalist historical claims about the Second Amendment. In part this decision reflects the underlying political ideologies behind gun rights. Libertarians and social conservatives, the two groups most closely identified with the individual rights view, are generally uncomfortable with living constitutional arguments because the idea of an evolving constitution has been closely associated with modern liberalism over the past century.
There are problems, however, with this reliance on an originalist interpretation: it rests on a distorted view of the past. Consider some of the claims made by gun rights supporters. No figure has been more abused by Second Amendment originalists than Thomas Jefferson. As one gun rights advocate noted: “It is clear Jefferson was strongly in favor of personal arms. In June of 1796, Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington, ‘one loves to possess arms.’” This quote has been cited by four different pro-individual rights scholars in law reviews. The quote is accurate, but it is clearly taken out of context. In a forthcoming article in the Albany Government Law Journal, historian David Konig points out that this quote had nothing to do with firearms. Jefferson was actually talking metaphorically, about having all of the facts one needed in an argument—going into an argument with all the right “ammunition.”…
January 14, 2008
This is how our liberal press (not necessarily The Sun) amplifies and over-modulates an issue they are partial to. They make a big deal of 18 friends of the courts briefs being filed last week (regarding U.S. v. Heller) of the 435 total US Representatives. That is less than 5% of all US Representatives – hardly an avalanche of support.“Concealed” *****
In arguing that the Second Amendment case now before the Supreme Court shouldn’t have any bearing on state gun control laws, Attorney General Cuomo is finding himself largely alone among state attorneys general.
Mr. Cuomo filed a brief, signed onto by only four other states and Puerto Rico, to the federal high court last week in District of Columbia v. Heller, which will be heard in March. In the case, the Supreme Court will review whether Washington, D.C., residents have a right under the Second Amendment to keep handguns at home for self-protection. The District of Columbia has what amounts to a blanket ban on handguns.
The question of whether states can regulate gun ownership is not at the forefront of the D.C. case. But gun rights proponents say a decision endorsing a reading of the Second Amendment that favors private gun ownership will lead to challenges of state gun control laws.
Mr. Cuomo’s brief is, in effect, an effort to limit any damage to the relatively strict handgun regulations in New York and some other states that might result from a Supreme Court decision favoring private gun ownership. The brief argues that the Second Amendment does not limit the power of state governments to regulate gun ownership.
The brief argues that the Second Amendment protects the rights of states to keep militias without interference from the federal government, and is therefore primarily about state sovereignty. In that sense, the brief suggests, a reading of the Second Amendment that put restrictions on what states can or can’t do “would dramatically alter the Amendment’s meaning and turn its federalism-grounded purpose on its head.”
That argument is a position frequently argued by supporters of gun control. What is most unusual about the brief, perhaps, is not what Mr. Cuomo argues, but what little backing he managed to get from other states. The brief, prepared by Mr. Cuomo’s office, is joined by Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.
Although briefs in support of Washington’s law were due last week, the briefs opposing the District of Columbia’s effort to save its handgun ban won’t be filed for another month. That may be when the bulk of the state attorneys general make their position known.
“I believe that you will see a substantial number of lawmakers and state attorneys general siding with the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment,” the lawyer who expects to argue against Washington before the Supreme Court, Alan Gura, said.
Some of those briefs are expected to contain arguments that endorse an individual rights interpretation but also leave room for substantial regulation of guns. Because many legal experts expect the Supreme Court to strike down the Washington law, even attorneys general in favor of some gun control may see it as better strategy to side with the expected winners.
“I could see an attorney general saying that maybe if I come in on the other side, I may be able to find the middle ground and have more credibility with the court,” a former attorney general of Maine, James Tierney, who now runs the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University, said.
“They think the District of Columbia is likely to get struck down, but they don’t want that decision to go beyond striking down that provision,” he said.
Some attorneys general may simply not take a side.
Besides Mr. Cuomo, few New York politicians filed briefs opposing an individual rights view of the Second Amendment. The city’s chief lawyer, Michael Cardozo, who was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, signed onto San Francisco’s brief, which argues “firearms regulation is a critical part of cities’ efforts to protect the health and safety of their residents.”
District attorneys from four of the five boroughs and Albany argue that courts have long held that the Second Amendment provides for only the right of a state to form a militia.
Of the 18 members of the House of Representatives who filed a brief arguing against an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, only one, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, belongs to the New York delegation. It is possible that the lawmakers’ brief wasn’t circulated widely.
“My suspicion is that because of the holidays and the fact that it was circulated during the recess, there were some members who would have decided to join who didn’t because they didn’t review it,” the attorney who filed the brief, Scott Gant of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Washington, said.
January 10, 2008
Here we go with the 12th Darwin Award and the usual suspects are leading the charge. Chaka Fattah Debra Anderson, and the ever reliable John Conyers is filing an amicus brief (that would be a friend of the court brief) in support of total gun abolition and our Second Amendment rights. I guess they didn’t get the bulletin: Gun Abolition has not worked in D.C. in 31 years. Call them and let them know how you feel. Concealed.
Members of Congress File Brief in Handgun Case Before Supreme Court
© Business Wire 2008
2008-01-10 17:27:00 –
– Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah Debra Anderson, 202-225-5402 or 202-225-5236 The Supreme Court is poised to hear arguments on the meaning of the Second Amendment’s right to “keep and bear arms” in a case testing the constitutionality of the District of Columbia’s longstanding prohibition on handgun ownership. The Court’s decision will have historic implications and national repercussions.
Two senior Members of Congress, Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA), and John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will be joined by more than a dozen of their colleagues in filing an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller.
The brief asks the Supreme Court to overturn a decision by United States Court of Appeals which struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns based on its belief that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The brief asserts the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision is an unwarranted departure from prior Supreme Court decisions. Additionally, the brief provides an important Congressional perspective about the Second Amendment and appropriate resolution of this case, including discussions of Congress’ powers and responsibilities over the militia under Article I of the Constitution, and Congress’ activities in the area of firearms regulation.
Congressman Fattah said, “Last year, 8,000 Americans were killed by handguns. Across America, but particularly in major metropolitan areas, handgun violence is impacting thousands of families. Children are losing their parents, and parents are losing their children. The sting of handgun violence is far reaching; families and communities will feel its effect for generations to come. The Supreme Court must uphold the District of Columbia’s right to make policy decisions that will ensure the safety of all its citizens.”
Attorney Scott Gant, of the law firm Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, a litigation powerhouse, is filing the brief on behalf of Congressman Fattah. Gant says, “It’s been nearly 70 years since the Court last directly addressed the substantive nature of any rights conferred by the Second Amendment. During that time, Congress has enacted numerous laws which required consideration of whether and how the Second Amendment constrains its authority. Congress also has specific powers and responsibilities over the militia under Article I of the Constitution. Members of Congress clearly bring an important perspective to this case, and we’re hopeful the Court will find the brief helpful in resolving it.”
Oral arguments are expected in March, with a ruling by the end of June. -0- Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) — http://www.house.gov/fattah 2301 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 — 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Phone: (202) 225-4001 — (215) 387-6404
Pennsylvania lawmaker is joined by colleagues in amicus brief
filing regarding handgun court case
In the following article, Mr. Bishop makes the following claim:
“The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dubiously misinterpreted and idolized…..”
“Dubiously misinterpreted and idolized?” Yes, we do idolize it just as we do the other Bill of Rights, sir! “Dubiously misinterpreted?” By who, you? What possible credentials do you possess that qualifies you to make such an asinine claim?
You finish up your liturgy, by decrying people that stand by the Bill of Rights as “wrongheaded extremist.” How perfectly fitting. You think we are the simpletons when you are the one that actually believes societies woes will be magically fixed if we just eliminate those evil guns. Maybe you should move to Washington, D.C., Australia or the U.K. Yes, gun prohibition has been a smashing success in those places, just smashing.
Had Jamie carried a weapon, or anyone else “in the gun free zone,” Jamie, and several others, may still be alive. It is far too convenient and easy to blame an inanimate object for these senseless murders. I suggest you take a look at who is committing these crimes, sir. It is not law-abiding citizens that have concealed carry permits. Concealed
Sensible gun laws needed
By MICHAEL BISHOP
Published on: 01/10/08
At 9:40 a.m. on Monday, April 16, 2007, my wife’s cousin, Lee Ellis, telephoned. Check the news, he advised. Something was happening at Virginia Tech, where our adult son, Jamie, taught. There were two dormitory murders and bloodshed in an engineering building.
“Jamie has his own house,” I said. “He teaches German, not engineering.” I could not imagine that at an institution as big as Virginia Tech, our son could fall victim to such peril. I dismissed Lee’s warning as alarmist.
Michael Bishop is a writer living in Pine Mountain.
Later, though, I knelt in our kitchen to pray. Later, I called my wife, Jeri, at work to say that things looked bad. She drove home screaming. Together, we failed to reach our daughter-in-law, a tenure-track German teacher, by telephone.
Near 6 p.m., cruising up I-85, we learned that, in the gunman’s assault, Jamie had died. His wife, kept in the dark all day, spoke by phone, crying, “I’m so sorry you’ve lost your son.” My breath left me, and I let Jeri drive to our daughter’s home in Bogart.
We three got to Blacksburg, Va., at 2:30 a.m. Our nightmare intensified.
To make sure that no victim was misidentified, the police would not release a body until it had a totally positive ID. Still, they allowed none of us to identify Jamie because of the backup at the morgue.
Twice, they sent agents to the house for items from which to take DNA samples. And the media hounded us with visits and phone calls.
Not until Friday morning did we see Jamie again, atop a funeral-home gurney, swabbed clean and clad in casual Jamie-style clothes.
Ten days later, back in Pine Mountain, I stopped behind a pickup bearing the sticker “Gun Control: Simple Solutions for Simple Minds.”
I served in the military, and my father hunted. I do not wish to confiscate any decent citizen’s gun. But soon Georgia lawmakers will debate two bills that, if passed, would steeply undermine public safety.
House Bill 89 would let workers tote guns to corporate parking lots in their vehicles. HB 915, the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” would authorize guns at volatile venues like ballgames, political rallies, bars, and postsecondary schools. (I would not teach at such a school.)
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dubiously misinterpreted and idolized, does not prohibit states from restricting firearms subject to criminal misuse or from denying guns to persons unfit to possess them.
In 2002, the Bush administration itself announced this discovery to the Supreme Court.
Georgia takes no real action to protect us and places us at risk for events as calamitous as Seung-Hui Cho’s Virginia Tech rampage. Like Virginia, Georgia has no statute for background checks at gun shows, no assault-weapon limitations, no waiting period, no requirement for child safety locks, no call for a license/permit to buy guns, and seemingly little patience for any rule that would truly enforce accountability.
However, the late-December passage of both houses of the U.S. Congress, by unanimous consent, of the NICS Improvement Act (which the NRA limply endorsed) points to a counter-tide. This act requires states to send to the national database for instant background checks the names of all convicted felons, spousal abusers and the violently mentally ill.
President Bush signed it on Jan. 8. Had it been law in early 2007 (a possibility but for the obstructionism of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma) all 33 of those slain in Blacksburg might still live.
But in Georgia, gun-lobby groups back the Second Amendment Protection Act that denies the latent murderousness of any firearm by implying that everyone should carry, even workers and students. (A pro-gun student group proposed wearing holsters to class to signal their desire to carry on campus.)
Such thinking presages an obligation, not just a right, to bear arms.
Yes, Virginia Tech involves other issues: mental illness, privacy, campus security. But it centers around lax gun laws. As Lu Ann McNabb, friend of slain student Reema Samaha, said last week in Virginia, “Without a Glock, a Walther, and high-capacity magazines,” Cho could never have done such damage.
Some say, “More guns make us safer. An armed society is a polite society.” Yeah, right. Think Deadwood. Think Iraq. Ask why no one believes nuclear proliferation makes us safer.
Georgia needs no “Second Amendment Protection Act.” Georgia needs laws that sensibly protect us. So does every state in this nation.
In the mortuary, I kissed our son’s forehead. Even through his clothes, I felt his strange iciness. “His hands are so cold,” I said.
“Yes,” his widow said. “But if you rub them, they warm up.”
I’ve warmed up. Have the people of Georgia? It’s past time to voice our disgust with wrongheaded extremists.