Three years ago the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Heller v. District of Columbia held for the first time the second amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms.
Monday, they extended that right to the entire country.
Despite the decision in Heller, the right to keep and bear arms had not passed the 14th amendment test which would extend that protection to the states.
That all changed Monday when in another 5-4 ruling with the liberal wing of the court predictably voting against the plain language of the constitution, the court struck down Chicago’s gun ban, noting they had already determined that citizens have a constitutional right to possess a firearm for purposes of self defense — and further noting Chicago‘s murder rate went up after the ban was enacted.
Moreover, Chicago’s arguments in the McDonald v. Chicago case were essentially, “if other countries don’t think they need this we shouldn’t either.”
“Municipal respondents’ ... arguments are at war with our central holding in Heller: that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home. Municipal respondents, in effect, ask us to treat the right recognized in Heller as a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have incorporated into the Due Process Clause,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Municipal respondents’ main argument is nothing less than a plea to disregard 50 years of incorporation precedent and return (presumably for this case only) to a bygone era. Municipal respondents submit that the Due Process Clause protects only those rights “‘recognized by all temperate and civilized governments, from a deep and universal sense of [their] justice.’
“According to municipal respondents, if it is possible to imagine any civilized legal system that does not recognize a particular right, then the Due Process Clause does not make that right binding on the States.”
Alito goes on to point out that our bill of rights guarantees rights to criminal defendants which are all but unique to the United States.
By that standard, Alito says, the United States would be “the only civilized Nation in the world.”
Moreover, Alito points out “several of the countries that municipal respondents recognize as civilized have established state churches. If we were to adopt municipal respondents’ theory, all of this Court’s Establishment Clause precedents involving actions taken by state and local governments would go by the boards.”
Justice Antonin Scalia took it a step further, disparaging Justice John Paul Steven’s dissent directly.
“Justice Stevens has a different distinction in mind: Even though he does ‘not doubt for a moment that many Americans . . . see [firearms] as critical to their way of life as well as to their security,’ he pronounces that owning a handgun is not ‘critical to leading a life of autonomy, dignity, or political equality.’ Who says?” Scalia asked in his concurring opinion. “Deciding what is essential to an enlightened, liberty-filled life is an inherently political, moral judgment — the antithesis of an objective approach that reaches conclusions by applying neutral rules to verifiable evidence.”
We should all applaud this decision.
Finally the argument of whether or not the second amendment protects an individual right or a collective one has not only been settled but the question of if it applies to the states has been answered as well.
I look with interest at the fact the court, or at least the majority, notes that fewer firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens, does not a safer city make.
Again and again it has been shown, the best way to reduce crime is to make the criminals afraid of the average citizen.
Criminals are largely cowards. The look for the weak and undefended to prey upon. They will not willingly attack someone capable of defending themselves.
The police cannot protect us from home invasions or muggings on the street. Moreover, it’s not their job to do so. Their job is to investigate crime and arrest the perpetrators. It is only a happy accident when they are able to prevent a crime from happening.
Again and again we have heard “an armed society is a polite society.”
It seems the Supreme Court has finally acknowledged this basic fact.
This decision is particularly timely when we have a government which seems largely to be out of control.
Again and again the administration and the federal government ignores the constitution and it’s own laws. The second amendment was intended, and still serves as a final check on the government.
This is it’s most important and primary purpose — to prevent tyranny by reminding would-be tyrants the people have the power to reject them.
Do not misunderstand, the time when “the tree of liberty must be refreshed ... with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” has not yet come. I still hope for a renaissance in America which will return this nation to the greatness it so richly deserves — but the second amendment must stand as the final bulwark between the American people and a runaway government.
All IMHO of course.