Skip to comments.Bush Administration Backs Individual Right to Bear Arms
Posted on 05/07/2002 6:08:36 PM PDT by Draakan
Reversing the four-decade-long federal interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Bush administration has told the Supreme Court that it believes the Constitution protects an individual's right to bear arms.
Lawyers for the Department of Justice said the high court need not test that principle now.
"The current position of the United States ... is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to possess and bear their own firearms," Solicitor General Theodore Olson wrote in two court filings this week.
That right, however, is "subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse."
Olson, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, was reflecting the view of Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Second Amendment applies to private citizens, not merely to militias, the Associated Press reported today.
Ashcroft angered anti-gun-rights leftists when he expressed a similar statement in a letter to the National Rifle Association last year.
'Plain Meaning and Original Intent'
"While some have argued that the Second Amendment guarantees only a 'collective' right of the states to maintain militias, I believe the amendment's plain meaning and original intent prove otherwise," Ashcroft wrote.
In November, the attorney general sent a letter to federal prosecutors praising an appeals court decision that found "the Second Amendment does protect individual rights," but noting that those rights could be subject to "limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions."
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals went on to reject arguments from Texas physician Timothy Emerson that a 1994 federal gun law was unconstitutional. The law was intended to deny guns to people under restraining orders.
"In my view, the Emerson opinion, and the balance is strikes, generally reflect the correct understanding of the Second Amendment," Ashcroft told prosecutors.
Olson's court filing Monday urged the high court not to get involved and acknowledged the policy change in a lengthy footnote. Olson attached Ashcroft's letter to prosecutors.
In the second case, a man was convicted of owning two machine guns in violation of federal law. The government also won a lower-court decision endorsing a federal gun control law.
The cases are Emerson vs. United States, 01-8780 and Haney vs. United States, 01-8272.
Here is the text of the Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The Supreme Court last ruled on the scope of the Second Amendment in 1939, according to AP. The amendment protects only those rights that have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia," the court opined then.
"This action is proof positive that the worst fears about Attorney General Ashcroft have come true his extreme ideology on guns has now become government policy," fumed Michael D. Barnes, president of Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the anti-gun-rights group associated with famous gun buyer Sarah Brady
No. The Second Amendment has only a single comma.
He didn't have too. It is still supporting gun control. Read it again and a few other articles on it. Government still reserves the right to say who can and who can't own weapons, type, mag size, ect. Nothing was won today as this is just the DEMs position of about 15-20 years ago nothing more.
"The right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed upon". Why is this so hard for even Republicans to understand?
New York City's antigun legislation contributed to the deaths of the WTC workers.
That's what my copies show.
I respect Rush...but, please my friend...think for yourself and make up your own mind.
And, (I'm ready for the flaming...) don't forget...Rush is now in a ratings war.
you'd think it would be right if it orginated from the U.S. House of Reps. I'm going to research this some more.
It's 03:54 in the morning where I'm at.
Another positive decision. Thank you Mister President.
That's two good decisions in recent days.
From the Washingotn Times: The Bush administration yesterday pulled out of the U.N.-backed effort to create a permanent international court on war crimes, saying it recognized "no legal obligations" to the court.
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