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  1. #11
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    Apr 2007
    south western PA, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Supreme Court strikes down D.C. handgun ban

    WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court ruled for the first time Thursday that the Constitution protects an individual right to own guns, in a 5-4 decision likely to reverberate nationwide and spawn wide controversy over firearms control.
    The momentous decision striking down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban came on the last day of the 2007-2008 term.

    From the bench, Justice Antonin Scalia declared for the majority that the Second Amendment provides an "individual right to have and use arms in the home."

    He rejected the notion that the gun right must be connected to service in the militia, as many lower court judges had ruled and Washington, D.C. officials had argued.

    Scalia noted, however, that the gun right is not absolute.

    He said long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of arms in government buildings would stand.

    Scalia noted that government's ability to regulate arms under the court's new interpretation of the Second Amendment would be worked out in later cases.

    Yet he emphasized the court's rejection of any "absolute prohibition on handguns held and used for self-defense in the home."

    Thursday's decision is likely to generate immediate debate in Chicago and other urban areas where local officials have tried to implement strict gun control.

    The National Rifle Association, which hailed the ruling as "a great moment in American history," said Thursday it will file lawsuits in at least five cities including San Francisco and possibly Chicago challenging handgun restrictions.

    "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA.

    "Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right," NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said. "All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right."

    Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the House Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican, called the court's decision "one of the most important rulings in our lifetime."

    "This is a resounding victory for the American people and sets a strong precedent that the rights and liberties provided in the Constitution may be regulated but cannot be extinguished by the law," Smith says.

    But others strongly disagreed with the ruling.

    "I'm disappointed in the court's ruling and believe introducing more handguns into the District will mean more handgun violence," said Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty. "But I want to emphasize that at this moment, our gun laws remain in effect. It may be several weeks before there are changes to announce."

    Fenty said that until the decision becomes law in the district, it remains illegal to possess firearms inside or outside the home. He said he has directed the police department to come up with regulations that would allow for the registration of all firearms.

    "I think it opens this nation to a dramatic lack of safety," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said at a Judiciary Committee business meeting Thursday. "I speak as a former Mayor. I speak as somebody who has gone to homicide crime scenes. I speak as somebody who lost a youngster that I mentored, who killed himself by playing Russian roulette with a weapon he found ... I speak as somebody who has watched this nation with its huge homicide rate, when countries that have sane restrictions on weapons do not have that homicide rate."

    Scalia was joined by the more conservative members of the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

    Dissenting were the four more liberal justices: John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

    Taking the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench, Stevens listed eight reasons why he believes the majority got it wrong.

    He said the historical roots of the Second Amendment and enduring judicial and legislative interpretations connect the right to own guns to military purposes.

    He warned that the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller would launch a new and potentially burdensome round of litigation over an issue that should be left to legislators and the political realm.

    Thursday's decision comes nearly 70 years since the Supreme Court last looked at the Second Amendment, which says, "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."

    Most lower court judges had ruled in recent decades that the Second Amendment protects a right to arms associated with service in state militia, such as a National Guard unit.

    That was also the general consensus of legal scholars. Still, gun rights appear to be so much a part of American identity that a USA TODAY Poll earlier this year found that 73% of people polled believed the Constitution contained an individual right to guns.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set the stage for Thursday's case in 2001 when it challenged the legal trend and ruled that the Second Amendment "protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for such activities as hunting and self-defense." The appeals court's interpretation of the Second Amendment came as it invalidated Washington, D.C.'s 1976 ban on handguns in the home.

    Dick Anthony Heller, a security guard who wanted to keep a handgun in his Washington, D.C., home for self-defense, had started the case.

    Thursday's Supreme Court decision upholds the D.C. Circuit's ruling favoring Heller.

    Scalia's 64-page opinion, mostly devoted to historical interpretations of the Second Amendment's text, acknowledges the contemporary problems of urban crime.

    "We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns." He concluded that much is still debatable on the scope of the Second Amendment and said, "What is not debatable is that it is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct."

    In a statement released Thursday presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain said: "Today's decision is a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States. For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers. I applaud this decision as well as the overturning of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and limitations on the ability to use firearms for self-defense."

    Democratic nominee Barack Obama said "today's ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country."

  2. #12
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    Apr 2007
    Pittston, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    troll Free. It's all in your mind.

  3. #13
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Dick Anthony Heller

    Thank you !!



  4. #14
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    May 2006
    somewhere, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Again folks, a reminder that this is not meant to be a discussion thread, just a place to store references to information and news on the decision. This way, we have a relatively short thread that's easy to get through with information readily accessible. Please keep discussion here:

    "Political Correctness is just tyranny with manners"
    -Charlton Heston

    "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
    -James Madison, Federalist Papers, No. 46.

    "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." [sic]
    -John Quincy Adams

    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Μολών λαβέ!
    -King Leonidas

  5. #15
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    For Immediate Release
    June 26, 2008 Contact: Press Office

    Statement by John McCain on Today's Supreme Court Ruling on Second Amendment Rights

    ARLINGTON, VA-- U.S. Senator John McCain today issued the following statement regarding today's United States Supreme Court ruling on District of Columbia v. Heller:

    Today's decision is a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States. For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers. I applaud this decision as well as the overturning of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and limitations on the ability to use firearms for self-defense.

    Unlike Senator Obama, who refused to join me in signing a bipartisan amicus brief, I was pleased to express my support and call for the ruling issued today. Today's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans. Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly.

    This ruling does not mark the end of our struggle against those who seek to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must always remain vigilant in defense of our freedoms. But today, the Supreme Court ended forever the specious argument that the Second Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms.


  6. #16
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Excperts from high court ruling knocking down D.C. gun ban
    Here are excerpts from Thursday's 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns.

    Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority:

    “As the quotations earlier in this opinion demonstrate, the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right. The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ’arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family and property is most acute. Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home ’the most preferred firearm in the nation to keep and use for protection of one’s home and family,’ would fail constitutional muster.”

    Scalia, on the requirement that handguns be kept inoperable:

    “We must also address the District’s requirement (as applied to respondent’s handgun) that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times. This makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.”

    Scalia, on the scope of the ruling:

    “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    Scalia’s concluding remarks:

    “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of the nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”


    Justice John Paul Stevens, in dissent:

    “Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Court’s announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding, but leaves for future cases the formidable task of defining the scope of permissible regulations.”


    Justice Stephen Breyer, in dissent:

    “The majority’s conclusion is wrong for two independent reasons. The first reason is that set forth by Justice Stevens — namely, that the Second Amendment protects militia-related, not self-defense-related, interests. These two interests are sometimes intertwined. To assure 18th-century citizens that they could keep arms for militia purposes would necessarily have allowed them to keep arms that they could have used for self-defense as well. But, self-defense alone, detached from any militia-related objective, is not the Amendment’s concern.

    “The second independent reason is that the protection the Amendment provides is not absolute. The Amendment permits government to regulate the interests that it serves.”

  7. #17
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    Nov 2007
    Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Impact of Gun Ruling Limited, Experts Say

    Published: June 27, 2008
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s historic decision on the right to bear arms on Thursday was a sweeping pronouncement of constitutional principles that will nonetheless have little practical impact in most of the country, legal experts said.

    Most state and city gun restrictions appear to be allowed under the ruling, which appears to permit licensing laws, bans on possession by felons or the mentally ill, and prohibitions against carrying concealed weapons or guns in schools or government buildings. Justice Antonin Scalia said that list was not exhaustive.

    “Dangerous” weapons can also be banned, although the term was not defined.

    But Washington’s comprehensive ban on handguns used for self-defense in the home will have to be revised, and similar laws in several major cities are also vulnerable.

    “It’s really the municipalities that are the offenders,” said Robert A. Levy, one of the lawyers on the winning side of the case.

    “There is likely to be quite a flood of litigation to try to flesh out precisely what regulations are to be permitted and which ones are not,” Mr. Levy said. “The challenges are likely to be in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Detroit.”

    Adrian M. Fenty, the mayor of Washington, said that officials here are considering an amnesty period during which people who own handguns can register them without penalty.

    Mr. Fenty emphasized that it remains illegal to carry handguns outside the home and that only registered guns may be may be kept at home. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons will generally remain illegal, Mr. Fenty said.

    Chicago has a law very similar to the one struck down in Washington, and many of its suburbs, including Evanston, Morton Grove, Oak Park, Winnetka and Wilmette, also ban the possession of handguns in many settings. Toledo, Ohio, also bans some kinds of handguns, and San Francisco would have a similar ban had it not been pre-empted by state law.

    As the list of affected localities demonstrates, gun control laws of the sort likely to be affected by Thursday’s decision are almost exclusively urban. Indeed, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in a dissent, some 41 states pre-empt local gun regulations, indicating significant tensions between state lawmakers and municipal officials.

    The status of laws that ban certain types of weapons is not clear, and that question is also likely to generate litigation. Six states, Puerto Rico and at least 14 municipalities ban assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons, Justice Breyer wrote.

    Justice Scalia wrote that the Second Amendment’s protections apply only to weapons in common use, like rifles and pistols. “Dangerous and unusual” weapons, including ones used by the military, may be banned, Justice Scalia said.

    Because the case before the court arose from the District of Columbia and thus involved only federal law, the court did not resolve the important question of whether the Second Amendment’s protections apply to limit state and local laws. Most legal experts said the court is likely to apply the amendment to the states in a later case.

  8. #18
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    America's Aggressive Civil Rights Organization
    June 26th 2008

    On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. This case represents the first time the Court has considered in detail the nature and scope of the Second Amendment. At issue were the District of Columbia's laws which largely ban all handgun possession within the city and which require all long armsto be unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with a triggerlock, rendering them essentially unavailable for self defense as"functional firearms."
    The Court, in a 5-4 decision which struck down both the outrighthandgun ban and the "functional firearms" ban, held that the Second Amendment guarantees a strong individual right to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to have arms for self defense in the home.
    There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that this is an excellentresult which gun owners should be very pleased with. The decision clearly and unambiguously establishes the strong and fundamental nature of the individual right to keep and bear arms. Significantly, however, the Court noted that the right to keep and bear arms is not without limitations, just as the right to free speech is not unlimited.
    The Court stated that its decision should not be read to cast doubt on such laws as long standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or in such sensitive places as schools or government buildings and the like. Thus, the Court clearly signaled that there are a variety of gun laws which are permissible under the Second Amendment.
    This has two significant implications for the future. First, it will take many future lawsuits to establish precisely what sort of laws are and are not permissible under the Second Amendment.
    Bothsides will likely find themselves fighting that battle vigorously. Second, those laws that are, in fact, permitted under the Second Amendment will form the fertile ground upon which future political activity will rest.
    It will remain the province of law abiding gunowners to oppose, politically, gun laws which, though constitutional, are nevertheless unwise and harmful to liberty andsafety. The Liberty Crew
    Please support JPFO with donations, memberships and purchase of our materials ( ) - so we can continue to provide you with these alerts and defend your rights.Also be sure to check out our free offers at
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  9. #19
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right


    BELLEVUE, WA – Following Thursday’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the City of Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban. The case is McDonald v. City of Chicago.

    “Chicago’s handgun ban has failed to stop violent crime,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb stated. “It’s time to give the Constitution a chance.”

    In addition to SAF and ISRA, plaintiffs include Chicago residents Otis McDonald, a retiree who has been working with police to rid his neighborhood of drug dealers, and who wants to have a handgun at his home; Adam Orlov, a former Evanston police officer; software engineer David Lawson and his wife, Colleen, a hypnotherapist, whose home has been targeted by burglars. Attorney Alan Gura, who argued the District of Columbia challenge before the high court, and Chicago area attorney David G. Sigale, represent the plaintiffs.

    “Our goal,” Gura said “is to require state and local officials to respect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Chicago’s handgun ban, and some of its gun registration requirements, are clearly unconstitutional.”

    “The right to defend our homes and families against those who would do them harm, whether a random criminal, violent ex-domestic partner, or other wrongdoer, is one of the principles upon which America was founded,” Sigale said. “It is time the City of Chicago trust its honest, law-abiding residents with this Constitutional right.”

    “Chicago's registration scheme cries out for common-sense reform,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson added.

    Under the gun law currently in place, firearms must be re-registered annually.

    “Each time,” Gura said, “a tax is imposed, forms must be filled out, photographs submitted. A person who owns more than one gun will find herself or himself constantly in the process of registering each gun as it comes due for expiration. If registration is to be required, once is enough.”

    He further noted that Chicago’s bizarre requirement that guns be registered before they are acquired often times makes registration impossible. The penalty for failure to comply with the registration scheme is that a gun not re-registered on time can never be registered again. Gura likened it to a requirement to dispose of a car if it is not re-registered on time with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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  10. #20
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    May 2007
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    Default Re: SCotUS Rules: 2nd Amendment Secures An Individual Right

    Link to comments
    Supreme Court's gun ruling has support in Franklin County area
    By JIM HOOK Senior writer

    Local gun owners welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C.

    "I think this was a good first step," said Greg Rotz, a Chambersburg man who carries his handgun in a holster. "It is just the first step. Nationally, I think this is the beginning of many more court cases."

    The National Rifle Association has indicated it will file lawsuits challenging handgun restrictions in Chicago, San Francisco and other areas.

    The next fight for gun owners will be over what are reasonable restrictions, what's allowable under the U.S. Constitution, Rotz said.

    "I'm glad they ruled that way," said George W. Martin, president of the Chambersburg Pistol and Rifle Club. "I believe in self-protection. Maybe if the bad guys got a taste of their own medicine, we'd be better off."

    Big-city governments try to control crime by taking guns away from residents, Martin said.

    "I don't think there's any quick fix to remedy the situation with guns and violence," Martin said. "I don't wish anybody any harm. I think one of God's given rights is self-protection. I think if they were threatened with violence, people (for gun control) would wish for something to defend themselves. I just think the private citizen has got some rights."

    George R. Naugle, an avid outdoorsman from St. Thomas, said the crime rate probably will go down in Washington, D.C., because law-abiding citizens will be able to lawfully own guns to protect themselves from armed criminals.

    Naugle said he doesn't know how to solve gun violence in the cities.

    "Maybe what we need is a complete revamp of the permissiveness in society," Naugle said. "I'm not a politician. I don't have any solutions. Politicians say they have solutions. Unfortunately they won't make any hard choices."

    Both candidates for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives welcomed the court ruling:

    - "For decades, the Second Amendment has been attacked by elitist special interest groups and politicians who considered gun owners to be 'bitter' and marginalized them as second class citizens," said incumbent Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg. "Today, those opponents were silenced when the court rightly decided in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right as vital as the right to free speech and freedom of assembly."

    - "As a hunter and a gun owner myself, I'm happy that the court upheld the individual's right to keep and bear arms as outlined in the Second Amendment," said challenger Tony Barr of Blue Knob. "As a father of two young boys and a school teacher, I agree with Justice (Anthony) Scalia when he wrote in the majority opinion that 'It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.'"

    State politicians see the decision as dampening future efforts to legislate gun control in Pennsylvania.

    "It's really great news for those of us who support the Second Amendment and believe it was meant for people to have firearms for self protection," said state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Chambersburg. "It's going to mean a great deal as we move forward in Pennsylvania. Every time we turn around, the anti-gun people in Philadelphia want to step on gun rights."

    "The Pennsylvania constitution says it best: The right of citizens to bear arms to protect themselves shall not be questioned," said state Rep. Mark Keller, R-Landisburg. "I'm glad to see the ruling came the way it did."

    Naugle is puzzled that the Supreme Court margin was narrow.

    The decision could be threatened when a justice is replaced.

    "The ruling is the same whether it was 5-4 or 9-0," Rotz said. "It took a long time to get a case like this heard the first time. I guess it would take a long time before it would come to the court again."


    Jim Hook can be reached at 262-4759 or
    Get your "Guns Save Lives" stickers today! PM for more info.

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