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Major Second Amendment Victory at the Supreme Court

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Posted on June 28 2010 12:00 pm

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The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority, has once again vindicated the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms as constitutionally guaranteed by the Second Amendment.  The Court today extended to the states and local governments its 2008 ruling that individuals have a federally protected individual right to keep and bear arms, questioning the constitutionality of  Chicago’s outright handgun ban and sending the case back to the federal appeals court for further consideration.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito declared that the Second Amendment’s protection of individual rights,

applies equally to the federal government and the states…the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner.

We can expect the usual carping from the gun control prohibitionists.  But the Supreme Court did not grant an absolute right to keep and bear arms. Sensible gun control laws keeping arms out of the hands of the criminally insane or convicted felons, preventing the carrying of a gun into a school or government building and regulating gun use by minors, for example, do not appear to be constitutionally out of bounds.

The point that the gun control prohibitionists do not seem to realize is that the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, following right after the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech and free exercise of religious belief.  Why is the right of the people to bear arms included as one of the ten Amendments constituting the fundamental Bill of Rights and yet treated as if it were not part of the Bill of Rights by the gun prohibitionists?  The same word “people” is used elsewhere in the Bill of Rights and in every instance it is given a much broader interpretation than the prohibitionists’ cramped reading of the Second Amendment would permit (for example, in the First Amendment’s “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” and the Fourth Amendment’s “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers”).  The Founding Fathers considered the “people” as distinct from, not subordinate to or in the service of, the government.

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