On another forum, a wile LEO wrote:
"Most people I know personally hold to the belief that the right to self-defense, as well as the defense of one's family, community, state and ultimately nation is one of the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator and is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of USC. It isn't specified as such, but I believe it is nevertheless implied as the Court opined in the Heller decision."
Our right to keep and bear arms has a much deeper meaning than mere self-defence, which many of you have touched on.
I'd like to take you through a short journey of discovery:
The oath I took upon commissioning as a military officer was:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Given the nature of the military, and that we are prohibited from being used as a force against domestic criminals, domestic riots, or for that matter, any other domestic issues, just what do you suppose that phrase means? Does it mean to protect the piece of paper upon which our Constitution was printed? I seriously doubt that as copies were made when it was signed, and were distributed to the states, and a couple were held back for the national archives. Since then many highly detailed photographs have been made of each. Good luck getting it all! Furthermore, even on the virtually impossible task of that happening, many copies exist throughout the countries of our allies.
Our Constitution is in no danger of disappearing.
So what does that mean, "all enemies, ... and domestic?" What is a "domestic enemy" of the Constitution, anyway?
They can be broken down into several different categories, but it's easilly summed by: Those who, either through ignorance, indifference, or malice, seek to interpret and/or enforce the Constitution against the original intent of its authors. Naturally, determing "original intent" is the tricky part. However, when any individual or groups approaches the task of interpretation while carrying any agenda, either hidden or open, other than merely, actually, and factually discern the original intent of its authors, I'd say the motives of that invidual or group becomes highly suspect. The same goes for anyone who attempts to supress a non-tained version of that original intent.
I, for one, am thankful for the SOTUS opinion on Heller. Their near-even splits on many decisions, however, clearly evidences that no one, including Congress, SCOTUS, or the President, is immune from either temptation or bias. Our Founding Fathers knew this, and that's one of the reasons we do have three branches of the government, with several hundred members in all, instead of a "wise, ruling monarch."
I also believe it's one of the reasons why the principle difference between the military's officer and enlisted oaths is the exclusion in the officer oath to obey orders. We were under the UCMJ to obey all lawful orders, but we were free to disobey unlawful ones. Naturally, that can be very tricky, and one must know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, what's lawful, and what's not. On several occasions throughout my career I exercised that responsibility, usually by simply seeking clarification from a higher authority who would either intervene or would deliver to me some education! (not fun, but not a career-ender).
Later in my career, however, there were a couple of instances where I had to turn to base legal. It's sort of weird - they work for the command, but also have the responsibility to ensure the command minds its legal p's and q's. Needless to say, when that happens, the command isn't happy, as the command knows what they want to do and why. They're not happy when legal says why doing that would be against the law, particularly when, if command went ahead and did it, legal would start running the issue up through the chain until they found a higher commander who was willing to prefer charges.
That's how it works, a "behind the scenes" view of what you read about in the papers when an officer gets into hot water because they're doing something "illegal, immoral (usually illegal), or unethical (judgement call)."
Thus, in the military, all military members are watch dogs of one another. We're self-policing. Officers, however, bear the additional privalage, and responsibility, of disobeying unlawful orders if the situation warrents.
Getting back to the Constitution, each of our branchs of our governement watches one another, and each has the power, and the authority, to override the other, within limits. President appoints members of SCOTUS and can veto Congressional bills. Congress can override a Presidental veto, confirms members of SCOTUS, can pass bills undermining SCOTUS decisions, or if it's a Constitutional issue, can amend the Constitution.
Of these, I believe SCOTUS holds the least power, as their sole duty is to interpret the law. They're under a huge spotlight, not only from the people, but from the other branches, and particularly the judiciary system. Whenever they've pulled a royal goof, rarely does much time pass before The People, their elected Representatives in Congress, and the President swing into action to reestablish the legal boundaries (law) against which SCOTUS must act.
Only a little off tangent, here...
"as well as the defense of ... community, state and ultimately nation."
While it's highly unlikely in this day and age, what would happen if our government's system of checks and balances ever failed, if, for whatever reason, they, en mass, decided to depart from the Constitution in (a) significant way(s)? What then?
A military officer is bound by oath to support and defend the Constitution. Our allegience is to this document alone (and of course to the laws stemming from it). So long as all officers hold true to their oath, at some point the issue will come to the point where the military will respond, "Mr. President, I deeply regret I cannot follow such an order, as it violates my oath of office."
The reason I say this scenario is "it's highly unlikely in this day and age" is because our government knows this. It's a fourth level of checks and balances.
I'm not sure what your (LEO)oaths say, but from what I gather, the Constitution is mentioned in nearly all of them in one form or another. So the law enforcement community is the fifth level of checks and balances.
The last level of checks and balances with respect to our Constitution is The People. Madison knew this when he penned the preamble of our 2nd Amendment, "being necessary to the security of a free State," as opposed to an oppressive state, an absolute monarchy, totalitarian regime, etc.
However, the not-so-free State also includes conditions not directed by a government, including riots, anarchy, or an unacceptably high rate of crime, and I believe it's that portion of Heller cited by the Supreme Court in it's decision.
Well, that was a round-a-bout way of getting to the foundation behind the Surpreme Court's decision in Heller, but there you have it. I think I've clearly shown, however, that on the remote chance our government depart en-mass from it's foundation, our foundation, the Constitution, there remain insurmountable hurdles against any permanent departure.