The streets in Mr. For instance, the recent Colorado movie rampage happened in the only theater in the vicinity of seven which forbids firearms. Lott observed that Germany , despite draconian gun restrictions has suffered worse mass murders. Homeowners defending the hearth rarely attract much media notice; nor will many liberals be found frequenting shooting ranges or hunting.
The forces seeking to confiscate firearms strike, using grief for license. Americans ought to be very circumspect before succumbing to more stringent firearm qualifications. Restricting guns from people with mental problems sounds logical, but forces adamantly opposed to firearms find even patriots similarly suspicious. Likewise, gun registration could segue into a roadmap for disarmament. The Missouri Information Analysis Center, a federal organ of Department of Homeland Security, included veterans, pro-life advocates, gun enthusiasts, Ron Paul supporters, and those who disdain the Fed or UN as potential terrorists.
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Essentially anyone who dreads untrammeled central authority was suspect. Could unfashionable political stands ultimately be deemed mental disorders or national threats in a bid to disarm dissent? We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas? No controls on guns, school security or other changes will deter a deranged murderer.
We have an obvious right — nay duty — to defend our families and neighbors, which are covered under the catchalls of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, but the Second Amendment concerns resistance to federal hegemony. Disarmament is the necessary precursor to tyranny. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot never faced significant civilian resistance. There has to be some means that people might still retain the ability to act, to defend themselves, whether that's against a private individual, felon, miscreant, or whether it's against something more nefarious.
We don't have militias of ordinary citizens the way we once did, back in the founding era, and we don't have troops occupying peoples' homes the way the founders did. But nonetheless, I think the Second and Third Amendment both have principles embodied in that text that remain relevant for today, and should not be thought of as dead letters just because the particular concerns that gave rise to them no longer remain our concerns. Because the principles they embody are more important and more enduring. And that may have a beneficial effect in making sure that everybody plays by the rules and observes normal political conventions and norms.
In Miller, you had a situation where an individual was a gangster and he was caught with a sawed off shotgun, which at the time, and still now, does require a special tax stamp that Mr. Miller did not have, and he argued that the Second Amendment secured his right to this weapon. The government took the case to the Supreme Court, and at the conclusion of the somewhat confused opinion, the Supreme Court remanded the case back to the district court for a determination as to whether or not the sawed off shotgun was an arm of the type whose possession is protected by the Second Amendment.
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Miller was murdered, so perhaps he needed a gun of some kind, after all, but we never got the answer to that question. So I would read that case, as other people do, and say "Look, obviously the Supreme Court thought there was some individual right to arms. But instead, because more evidence was needed relating to whether or not this was an arm of the type that Mr.
Miller could possess, that shows that there was some right there, at issue. Much more helpful, of course, is the case that I argued in the Supreme Court, D. The main laws at issue in Heller were a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of all handguns by people, effectively. And also, a law that prohibited people from having operative firearms in their home. You can have a long gun, a rifle or a shotgun, in your home in D.
Oddly enough, you could use it in self defense in a place of business, just not at your home.
That was a very important case, a landmark ruling, that has led to many, many, many court cases challenging the constitutionality of a wide number of gun control laws. The Supreme Court has not again stepped into the Second Amendment, with one exception, the court in a case called "McDonald versus City of Chicago" held that the Second Amendment applied equally to the federal government and to the state and local governments. One thing to remember about our constitutional rights is that they don't automatically apply to the state and local governments.
But the McDonald case held that the Second Amendment, and the principles of the Second Amendment nonetheless apply to the states, as well. And that's pretty common as well, over the course of the 20th century the Supreme Court has held that nearly all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply equally to the state and local governments. I mean, I couldn't own a tank, right?
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What sort of limits may the government place on the right to keep and bear arms? The first limitations are, of course, as with all rights, given to us by the scope of the actual rights. There are many things that simply aren't included in a particular right. The right of free speech, for example, guarantees you the right to speak in some ways, but perjury of speech, terroristic threats or speech, extortion is a form of speech, none of those are traditionally protected.
And likewise, there are going to be some arms that are going to fall outside of Second Amendment protection. The Heller case tells us how to go about discovering those limits. The Amendment, we are told, presupposes that people will have arms that people would expect to find in common use for traditional, lawful purposes.
And so, while a handgun or a rifle is a type of arm that people would keep for self defense, for hunting, for sport; a tank or a bazooka is usually not something that you would wish to access for some traditional, recognized, lawful activity, right? I mean, very few people would use a tank to defend themselves against a mugger on the street, right? So, the guns are here to stay.
The question is how can we exist with civilian armament and good and effective gun control? And I think that history and tradition can provide some of those answers. In the same way that we try to understand what does the text of the Constitution mean, and what are the principles that that text embodies, we look to history and tradition, how have Americans lived under that Constitution, over these odd years.
We should also look to that history and tradition in seeing the limits of those constitutional rights.
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And one thing I think is very clear from the history and tradition of gun rights and gun regulation is that there's ample room to regulate firearms. The founding fathers had gun control laws, we had gun control laws in the wild west, even though that was the heart of America's gun culture, we've had gun control laws all through American history, and they're part of the story of the Second Amendment, as much as the six-shooter and the right to bear arms. But a lot has changed since the Revolution.