Reports and Opinions
Supreme Court decision on Heller v. D.C. 062608
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
“The Amendment’s prefatory clause [‘A well regulated militia being necessary…’ A.L.] announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms… The ‘militia’ comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.”
|Court Strikes Down Washington DC Gun Bans (March 9, 2007) – pdf docs|
|FBI Report: Violent Encounters Felonious Assaults on America’s Law Enforcement Officers – pdf docs|
“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Much as been written about the second amendment about those who agree with it’s literal interpretation and those who seek to destroy or rewrite it through disassembling the language and reassembling in a form to make it appear to mean something else.
These arguments have been based on historical, legal, cultural and practical interpretations. Links to them are included on this website. The key issue is what does it mean and what context was it written in.
U.S. law is influenced by English law and the culture at the signing of our Constitution was in the shadow of English Colonial government. Historically, English kings required that their subjects were armed for two reasons: First to act as a ready-made army in the event that a conscription of the populace was needed in time of war. Second, to act as a self-policing society as there was no semblance of organized law and order prior to the early 1800s. In the mid 1600s the law changed. The English king only allowed the landowners and rich to be armed. The reasons are obvious and the reaction to this when viewed from the Americas is obvious too. It was designed to limit the power that the population had over its destiny.
The second amendment was a subject of much debate among the nations founders. There was originally language included to exclude religious conscientious objectors from having to be part of the militia but that was dropped. In the historical context therefore it is quite clear what was meant and it should be taken as literally as it was written, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Why Own a Gun? Russ Chastain, hunting.about.com
- Because It’s Cool
- Family Legacy (Because my Parents Owned Guns)
- Just For Hunting
- Target Shooting Only
- For Social Reasons
- For Self Defense
- Because the Founding Fathers Wanted me to
- As an Investment
- Historical Reasons
- Interest in The Mechanics of Firearms
- My Own Reasons
What makes a gun lover? Russ Chastain, hunting.about.com
Just for Skeptics (of gun ownership)– a series of enlightening articleswww.gunowners.org/skeptic.htm
It’s the criminal stupid.
Assault weapon is a misnomer. Anything that can be used as a weapon, from a pencil to a nuclear bomb is an assault weapon. In today’s context an assault weapon is a submachine gun with selective rates of fire, including single, multiple and full automatic. In 1934 the Federal Government prohibited public ownership of fully automatic weapons. The weapons available today do not fit the definition therefore as they only be shot in a one-trigger-pull one shot mode.
Among the items that are thrown into mix of assault weapons categories are:
- Large clips that contain up to thirty + rounds for rifles
- Large capacity clips for hand guns that contain 15+ rounds
- Shrouds – used to dissipate heat from a hot barrel
- A muzzle flash suppressor which does as it’s name describes in addition to directing muzzle energy upwards to deflect the tendency of the barrel to rise from recoil.
- The look of an assault rifle – this refers to the military style that many of today’s rifles have.
- A bayonet fixture – I haven’t head of these being used in crimes. Knives yes, mounted bayonets no.
There are 280 million legally owned firearms in the US today. 90% of the population by statistical average own a firearm. Many people own more than one so the number averages at 50%.
Criminals are not using legally owned firearms normally. Their source of weaponry is unregulated and unlicensed. Their use of automatic weapons, if indeed automatic weapons are used in crime, is extremely limited and exist from their either purchasing stolen military hardware or rebuilding a firearm to full auto capability. Banning or restricting firearms types, styles based upon the belief that they are the cause of crime is irrational and its logic untrue. Reducing clip sizes means that a criminal uses two or three clips instead of one or purchases a stolen military high-capacity clip or modifies and enlarges an existing clip.
Over the past twenty years the availability and regulation of firearms to legal purchasers has become constricted. We now have waiting periods prior to purchase, background checks, training and licensing for those who wish or need to carry a pistol. It’s not easy for a criminal to legally purchase a weapon even at a gun show. When we were young (70’s) firearms were available in the local hardware stone -that’s gone now. In the 80’s and 90′ Sports Authority and Walmart stopped carrying handguns. Now your choice is the local gun-store or a gun show, frequented by police and regulated Federally. Private sales a loophole but a private sale where the weapon is used for a crime is a felony, where it is sold across state lines, a Federal offence.
The answer is not the further regulation of firearms. The answer is the effective arming and training of police officers, the pursuit of criminals intent on murder and crimes, and the loud promotion of existing harsh gun-crime laws so that the population is aware of the protection and consequences that already exist.
The second amendment is the keystone of out civil liberties. Giving an inch with this is the first step in giving up the fight of our personal rights.
To anyone who suggests that the United States needs more gun laws, I would suggest that we have more gun laws than we need. An hour spend on the internet will leave you astounded that we are able to carry arms at all between plethora of existing Federal and State laws. And people ask, “With all these laws why does crime continue?” And therein lies the rub. These laws don’t apply to criminals no matter how many and what types of laws are implemented. Criminals don’t buy through legitimate channels. They don’t undergo background checks. They don’t have their fingerprints reviewed by the FBI.
Would you like to see the success of existing laws? Go to the Website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [www.atf.treas.gov] and take a look at their news section. Those are bad guys they’re locking up. The good guys, gun-owners and non-gun-owners alike, don’t commit crimes. Existing laws work not through additional legislation but through proper implementation.
Are there too many laws. Sure. And they affect the legitimate gun owner unfairly. There are 280 million firearms legitimately owned in the US. Social mores, conscience, personal responsibility, are among the reasons you don’t see any crimes committed just because people own guns. Crimes are committed with guns because of criminal intent, firearms do not cause the crime.
Many countries became independent because the populace has firearms – America included. Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, France – on and on. Rulers fear an armed population because they know that if pushed too far the rulers can be removed by force of arms if necessary.