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Thread: GOA's Message Goes Nationwide Following Yesterday's Supreme Court Hearing

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    http://www.gunowners.org/a031908.htm

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Gun owners had their day in court on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the DC v. Heller case, which involves a challenge to the DC gun ban.

    Absent some world-shaking surprise, it is pretty clear that there are five votes on the Supreme Court to declare that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
    That fact alone should be enough to settle the argument over gun control and protect gun owners' rights. But as we all know, that's where the battle over the meaning of the Second Amendment begins.

    More to the point, Justice John Paul Stevens asked Alan Gura, the attorney for Dick Heller, if it would be proper to say that the right protected in the Second Amendment shall not be "unreasonably infringed"?

    To our shock and horror, Gura answered "yes." He did qualify his answer somewhat by saying "we don't know" exactly what this "unreasonable standard looks like." But he conceded a significant amount of ground with his answer, because any ban would be "reasonable" to Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady.

    Truth be told, we do have a proper standard for interpreting the Second Amendment. The language doesn't say anything about "reasonable" or "unreasonable;" it simply says the right of the people "shall not be infringed." It's a shame that even people on "our side" don’t fully understand that.

    That's why when USA Today looked at all the briefs which had been submitted, the editors decided to use GOA for the opposing voice in today's editorial. The editors told our attorneys that GOA had an argument that was distinctive.
    Indeed we do. GOA's brief says:
    [T]he argument that "the right of the people" is subject to reasonable regulation and restriction tramples on the very words of the Second Amendment, reading the phrase -- "shall not be infringed" -- as if it read "shall be subject only to reasonable regulation to achieve public safety."
    "Public safety" is frequently a canard that tyrants hide behind to justify their oppressive policies. Writing in USA Today, our attorneys Herbert Titus and William Olson stated:
    No government deprives its citizens of rights without asserting that its actions are "reasonable" and "necessary" for high-sounding reasons such as "public safety." A right that can be regulated is no right at all, only a temporary privilege dependent upon the good will of the very government officials that such right is designed to constrain.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    The language doesn't say anything about "reasonable" or "unreasonable;" it simply says the right of the people "shall not be infringed."
    Unfortunately, our Supreme Court history does, and that was the arena he was playing in. The first amendment clearly says "Congress shall make no law" but yet we have laws against slander, libel and obscenity that are upheld as "reasonable restrictions."

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    ama-gi wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    The language doesn't say anything about "reasonable" or "unreasonable;" it simply says the right of the people "shall not be infringed."
    Unfortunately, our Supreme Court history does, and that was the arena he was playing in. The first amendment clearly says "Congress shall make no law" but yet we have laws against slander, libel and obscenity that are upheld as "reasonable restrictions."
    Well, AFAIK, SCOTUS has yet to make any significant rulings on libel/slander, and has mainly ignored it and left it up to state law... kind of like the Second Amendment. Although those cases primarily fall in the civil sector, and the laws criminalizing it, once again as I understand it, are rarely enforced. As for "obscenity", it's only a matter of time until that's decriminalized.

    To apply that to the second amendment, it would be as if some states had laws that possession of "offensive weapons" was a crime, but charges had to be brought by a private individual, and that private individual was held to extremely high standards to prove that the weapon was "offensive"... and that the standard was so high that 99% of the the time it couldn't be proven. Oh, and as for an applicable obscenity-type law, that would be similar to if there were a law preventing gays from owning firearms. Soon to be overturned...

    That's also entirely discounting the meaning of the Second Amendment. It was written in order to provide the people with insurance against a tyrannical government, and was meant to enable them to fight back against oppression. Clearly any weapons military-related are fair game for legal ownership, and "reasonable regulation" might only be considered on weapons with no military purpose whatsoever. The First Amendment was meant to prevent governments from suppressing discontent, and arguably was not meant to protect people from saying whatever they wanted. It was meant to protect the people publishing the truth about government actions, or their reasons for why they feel certain laws are wrong. Nonetheless, in the day of neo-cons and libs who want to control every aspect of our lives, it's difficult to argue that any topic isn't politically-related.

    With that being said, the whole "let's use our first SCOTUS appearance in 74 years to make a safe step in the direction of maybe upholding some scrap of a Second Amendment-protected right" is fairly pathetic. Not my case, granted, but it would seem better to haggle in a sense... ask for more, and let SCOTUS decide how much they'll give you. If they had the balls to interpret the Second Amendment as it was written and intended, and not cave to pressure from all of the government agencies who get a paycheck for violating peoples' rights (BATFE, Bush Admin, PA state police, etc), machine guns would be a non-issue.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    it would seem better to haggle in a sense... ask for more, and let SCOTUS decide how much they'll give you.
    Doesn't work like that. Think of the biggest cases you can think of decided by the Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade; Brown v. Board of Education) and all of them were preceded by tiny court decisions that moved the Court in the right direction. Constitutional law doesn't move in big steps. Maybe if we hadn't already had a bad case precedent (United States v. Miller), the Heller team would've felt more comfortable going a little further.

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