Big Win for Gun Rights' Advocates With More Fights to Come
Gun rights' advocates scored a major victory this morning when a divided panel of federal judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the District of Columbia's gun control laws violate the individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Here is how the Court's majority framed its conclusion: "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right
facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia."
If you have any interest at all in this issue, and no matter which side of the gun debate you find yourself on, do yourself a favor and read the ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia. It is worthwhile just for the context and perspective it adds to the debate. The ruling almost certainly will be appealed, first to the entire D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and then perhaps to the United States Supreme Court. And it would not shock me if the Justices, underworked as they have been lately, decide finally to help offer some clarity in this controversial area. The Court's majority may or may not have gotten legal precedent right but they sure have placed this vital issue back on the nation's foreburners.
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