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Supreme Court might ignite new battle in gun control war

By Doug Thompson
February 27, 2010

Lock and load…the Supreme Court will weigh in soon with a gun ruling that could open he door for more gun control by states and localities or it could slam it shut in the faces of advocates for stricter legislation.

The court will soon decide whether or not the Second Amendment — used by gun fanciers as the quid pro quo for packing heat — applies to states as well as the federal government.

Some Constitutional scholars believe it does.

The court is considering a case that could strike down handgun bans in Chicago and suburban Oak Park as part of a decision on whether or not the full Bill of Rights applies as much to state and local law as it does in federal cases.

On the surface, applying the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights to state and local government would appear to be a clear victory for gun advocates but the gun-control crowd thinks a ruling could also allow state and local government to enact tougher laws.

Gun control opponents, of course, argue just the opposite.

At issue is the due process clause of the 14th amendment which says, in part, that no state shall create or enforce any law that curtails “the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” The amendment also states that “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

The National Rife Association says the 14th Amendment reaffirms the rights of the Second Amendment. Those who disagree says the 14th Amendment also prohibits the states from doing things like legalizing guns that others can use to deprive a person of life or liberty.

Both sides are keeping their powder dry and waiting for the court’s decision.

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23 Responses to Supreme Court might ignite new battle in gun control war

  1. griff

    February 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    The wife and I watched the movie, ‘Law abiding Citizen’ the other night. The opening scene portrays a brutal home invasion and double murder. When it was over, my wife turns to me and says, “that was just horrible!” To which I replied, “that’s why we have guns.”

    You’ll never find me face-down and bound, watching helplessly as my family is brutalized by thugs.

    We Americans have the inalienable right to protect our homes and families from those that would do us harm. The highest crime rates in the country happen to occur in places with the strictest gun control laws. That would be because criminals, by the very definition, have no respect for the laws that most of us adhere to.

    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” Cesare Baccaria

  2. Almandine

    February 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

    This ruling will have a double edge, no matter the outcome. States rights versus federal control will be the likely implication, with all manner of debate as to “proper governmental authority”, leaving aside the actual issue – individual rights.

    • griff

      February 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      Exactly. From what I understand, this is a case involving a black Chicago man that wishes to own a gun to protect his home and family. Normally these types of cases revolve around federal usurpment of states rights, but this case seeks to reaffirm the inalienable constitutional right of every American citizen to not only bear arms, but to feel safe and secure in his home.

      In this case, I don’t think the state or municipality has the authority to override the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

      • Carl from Chicago

        February 28, 2010 at 8:20 am

        Griff:

        I agree that this case is about the right to bear arms … but it’s not about the right to “feel safe and secure in one’s home.” We can feel safe or feel not safe depending upon our will and perception, but there is no “inalienable right” to be safe, or to feel safe.

        • griff

          February 28, 2010 at 9:45 am

          Agreed. That was poorly worded.

        • Almandine

          February 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

          The Constitutionally-guaranteed right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is tantamount to the right to be or feel safe.

      • Almandine

        February 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

        The issue, Griff, goes beyond reaffirmation of 2nd amendment rights. I suggest that any time the federal govt wins a case such as this, it is the 10th amendment that takes a hit that further emboldens the Executive branch, in particular, with visions of grandeur.

  3. D.B. Wells

    February 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I own a number of guns, unfortunately in this day and age, I must keep them locked in a gunsafe in my basement. Thanks to a young relative of mine, I no longer feel safe to keep them out in the open, thus unable to use them to protect the family if needed, I really do not fear strangers, I live in a very rural area and have several loving loyal big dogs that worship the ground my wife walks on. However they also know my relatives. I do have my doubts about this ‘conservative’ court, their ruling on private property v.s. eminent domain stripped me of any faith I had in them

    • jim0001

      March 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Mr. Wells, I respectfully submit you have your choce of defense in your hand not your safe. They come in the dark of night and they don’t knock politely!

  4. Sandune

    February 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    This is another attempt to give the federal government control over our Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment has been roughed up for many years. Roe Vs. Wade is another threat when Conservatives get their claws into the several Amendments over personal choices. Americans are acting insane by taking sides in whether we are armed or free to choose our partners for marriage or how many children we must breed.

    I realize that guns kill many innocent people but trying to license them is as ridiculous as trying to stop drugs and abortions. How much government do we need or want? How many more years will we have to fight for our rights? We seem to get dumber every generation and this is because we do not train our own children to have respect for each other and for the laws. More laws is not the answer. Another generation of ill-prepared voters will bring about total law enforcement from the federal government.

    Mr. Wells, Americans went on a family values tirade after President Clinton. I never understood what those family values meant but I realize it means Social Conservative values. This is a false premise because in the last 8 years we have seen more crime, corruption and adultery from those Conservatives that should keep them within the standard Bill of Rights without all this revision of meanings. I believe that we who discuss openly our values can see the problems within the Social Conservatives. They do not think in terms of right over wrong, but how to beg for forgiveness when they sin. I’m still back as a mother and grandmother that teaching and showing right over wrong is the best way.

    I’m watching the siren warnings in Hawaii of a tsunami. We need a siren all over America that our government has had enough of individual freedoms and tney want complete control over all of us. 1984 was a great warning sign but few read these books. Even my generation here in my area never heard of Orwell.

  5. Cal

    February 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t need anyones permission to defend myself, my family, and my property, and will do so using any means I have available to me.

    Our government seems to need more “innocent victims” always claiming they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time” to show us how bad guns are. It should be the CRIMINAL who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, not the law abiding citizen.

  6. Dan

    February 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I think that the bottom line here is that the Constitution of the United States applies to every citizen in every circumstance. The second ammendment gives us the right to bear arms to protect us against whoever might do us harm, including but not limited to the government and other criminals. This is not an issue of more government control, it is an issue of government abiding to the laws laid out before them. unquestionable laws. Think of it this way, if a state may choose to impose laws that circumvent the right to bear arms as laid out in the constitution, then the state also reserves the right to impose laws that will circumvent the rest of the bill of rights. No freedom os speech or religon, no freedom of press. No protection against unlawfull search and seizures or cruel and unusual punishment. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land that every state in this union agreed to abide by when they agreed to jion the union. If they choose now to disobey the Constitution now, then they in effect choose to secede from the same union and fend for themselves.

    Dan

  7. Issodhos

    February 27, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Not to be too nit-picky, Dan, but the Second amendment does not “give” us anything. It simply acknowledges a pre-existing right and instructs the federal government that it is not to infringe upon that right.;-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos

    • Sandune

      February 28, 2010 at 10:53 am

      The Bill of Rights is a control limiting the government in all 27 Amendments. The GOP who used to be firm on this interpretation now wants limited freedoms for “most” Americans but not all. The churches refuse to allow many to have the choice of family size and are willing to put new interpretations on the First Amendment which allows the Churches to get behind elections and resrictions of their own. The LDS has made it clear that no homosexual can be brought into the Priesthood. Catholics have banned birth control and abortions and even tried to abolish Emergency Morning After Rape pills forcing a victim to carry an unwanted fetus. Social Conservatives do not want gays in the military or to be married.

      This is not even close to American values but picks and chooses who to prohibit and who to accept as equals. We got through banning women from voting and then Civil Rights for minorities to vote. Apparently Family Values are only for white, straight Christian men.

      Apparently both sides of the aisle wants more laws to control the people. Both parties are running on government federal controls over American vices and habits. To listen to the campaign speeches every two years and how one side wants legislated health care and the other wants family values legislated. We keep voting these fools into office which indicates the American voters want a top heavy government to tell the voters what not to do.

      I am as firm about equal rights as you are about guns. I had no idea how demanding the voters were until I went on line. I had no idea how much influence the churches had over the people until 2000.

      This is not my America! What the hell is wrong with individual choices? You must have read the warning signs from Orwell, Wells, Heinlein and all the others. The U.S. Constitution is a document containing the Bill of Rights. When millions of Americans are overlooked by any organized group, it is wrong! I have pleaded with you, Hos, to write your opinions on the internet and now I understand why you don’t.

  8. Dale Anderson

    February 28, 2010 at 8:06 am

    The court will probably continue down the same two-pronged path they have been for awhile now.

    1-The individual has the right to own weapons.

    2-Governments can choose in the public interest to regulate said ownership, as long as it does now totally ban said ownership.

    • Dale Anderson

      February 28, 2010 at 8:08 am

      2-Governments can choose in the public interest to regulate said ownership, as long as it does NOT totally ban said ownership.

      Sorry ’bout that…

  9. Carl from Chicago

    February 28, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Doug:

    With all due respect, you have a fairly poor handle on the issues in this case. Particularly with respect to the Privileges or Immunities clause and the Due Process clause, and also with respect to what 14A incorporation of the 2A will mean. It will NOT “prohibit the states from legalizing guns that others can use to deprive a person of life or liberty.” That statement makes sense only to the Mad Hatter! It would mean, in the end, that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed by federal, state, or local governments.” It will prohibit the infringement … not the exercise … of individual rights.

  10. bandofotters

    February 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    “Those who disagree says the 14th Amendment also prohibits the states from doing things like legalizing guns that others can use to deprive a person of life or liberty.”

    Isn’t this a very weak argument because the only way to legalize something is to repeal the law that first made it illegal?

  11. bandofotters

    February 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I do have my doubts about this ‘conservative’ court, their ruling on private property v.s. eminent domain stripped me of any faith I had in them
    ________________________________________

    This ruling was made by the more ‘liberal’ members of SCOTUS, 5-4.

    John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer

  12. jim0001

    February 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Recommended reading: “The Second Amendment Primer” by Les Adams.
    Should be available from the NRA bookstore or go to: http://WWW.Palladiumpress.com
    This is a compilation of what the founding fathers actually meant with the Second Amendment. This amendment should actually be reversed in order with the first. The second protects all the rest.

  13. Sandune

    February 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Carl, I agree with you and the list of infringements is too long to list on one site. The Patriot’s act is a joke! It is the ultimate control over all Americans. Our trying to bring democracy into the Middle East was a damn lie. In my book it was a planned Crusade to bring Muslims down. Every 50 years or so the Religious right wants a war against any nation not representing Jesus Christ. Religious freedom will prevail in America but not until we destroy Islam and possibly Israel. Both sides of the aisle are eating away at our individual freedoms. There is no where to go and no party to bring into the government. We will continue this crusade until we are again extinct.

    I wrote about this in 1999 when I saw the influrnce of the churches in our elections. I’m not allowed to say this here because many believe I’m quite mad but damnit I have read the histories of what religion can do to nations. I’m logging out again before I am again banned. Had the First Amendment separated church and state, we would not be in this clash of family values.

  14. jim0001

    February 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Last year the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Constitution and law abiding citizens (see Heller vs District of Columbia). Their verdict is that the Second amendment affirms to the individual the right to bear arms to protect oneself. D.C. is still resisting the decision by the way.
    Obama’s shining city on the lake and Oak Grove, Il. disagreed. Their stance is that D.C. is a federal entity and not a state, therefore the SC ruling did not apply to them. Dailey is spending millions in an attempt to deprive the law abiding citizens of their Constitutionally acknowledged rights.
    Unfortunately our newest apointee to the bench; “Poor Sonya’s had a hard life and therefore qualified for the SC”, has previously espoused this same position. Of course when she was vetted these questions were never asked. Go figure, she was nominated by the annointed one and confirmed by his lackeys. It WILL prove interesting.

  15. HerbM

    March 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    The gun control crowd doesn’t think losing in McDonald will help their goals, they just know they are almost certainly going to LOSE and wish to spin it ahead of time — much as for years they tried to spin the 2nd Amendment as protecting some weird (read: non-existent) “collective right”, even there are no such things.

    A win for McDonald will set a “ratchet’ or ‘bar’ past which no state may venture in gun control, it will in no way authorize any new infringements — claiming so is a lie and believing those who claim it require fairly severe ignorance.

    Why? Because the state constitutions of over 44 states already explicitly protect the right to bear arms, and gun control laws are already as severe as the courts and political reality will allow.

    After McDonald wins, ALL states and local governments will be required to provide a minimal level — or greater — respect and protection for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

    Most states already do this, and the majority go a bit further than the minimum even if none go far enough, except perhaps Alaska and Vermont, but that is changing too.

    No gun control law is actually constitutional since NONE — NOT ONE — can be shown to work to prevent violent crime.

    None of the CDC, DoJ, nor the National Academy of Science has been able to identify any (ANY!) gun control law which can be shown to reduce any (ANY!) of murder, violent crime, suicides nor accidents.