Blogs > Liberty and Power > 2nd Amendment Conveys Individual Right

Mar 19, 2008 10:13 pm

2nd Amendment Conveys Individual Right

Robert A. Levy, co-counsel to litigant Dick Heller in the 2nd Amendment case currently before the Supreme Court concerning the handgun ban in the District of Columbia, discusses the stakes in The Washington Times. He concludes by saying that, ”at root, the Heller case is simple. It's about self-defense: Individuals living in a dangerous community who want to protect themselves in their own homes when necessary. The Second Amendment to the Constitution was intended to safeguard that right. Banning handguns outright is quite plainly unconstitutional.”

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Allan Walstad - 3/22/2008

Even defenders of the right to keep and bear arms seem to have bought into the idea that the militia clause refers to organized military units under government control. "Militia" was used sometimes in that sense, other times in the sense of an armed populace or citizenry that might be called on to serve. "Well-regulated" was used in 18th century parlance to mean "well-coordinated" or "well-operating" or "effectively operating."

The relation between the two clauses of the Second Amendment is that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is necessary to serve the purpose of an effective militia, namely, the security of a free state. "Security" does not mean only defense by organized military units against invasion or insurrection. When armed citizens defend themselves, their homes or families, or when they come to the aid of their fellow citizens against attackers, they are contributing as members of the militia to security.

No interpretation that I've seen, if it uses the parenthetical phrase to negate the declaration of an individual right to keep and bears arms, can account respectfully and plausibly for the very existence of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Robert Lee Gaston - 3/21/2008

Try This: Read Federalist 46. You may find that he was reading the minds, or the words, of the founders.

Keith Halderman - 3/20/2008

A close reading of the Second Amendment does support my position. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, is an independent clause set off by commas and therefore that right is not tied to being in the militia. It always amazes me how people on your side of this issue are so willing to accept tyranny for a policy that has absolutely no track record of success. Your precious DC gun ban has done less than nothing to stem the tide of violence that city.

chris l pettit - 3/20/2008

Nice try...

Were you reading the minds of the Founders when you argued that?

It may be the most ridiculous legal statement I have ever heard. It is a nice ideological and maybe political beliefe, but to have that statement made in the legal realm is asinine.

You can argue that we need to apply things in a current historical and cultural context, and that your ideological position is the one given, but then you have to also respect the other diverse viewpoints that counter your position. The Second Amendment does not support your ideological position on its face. It requires the ideological assumptions you ask us to accept.