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March 19, 2008

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The Second Amendment Foundation Responds

From the PR Newswire:

Today's oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v Heller produced a clear victory for the individual citizen's right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

"We are confident," said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, "that the high court will hand down an opinion that affirms the Second Amendment means what it says.”


Mike Diehl

Gee, thanks, Alan Gottleib. That really clarified the whole thing for me. That was brilliant in the way of a duh sportscaster's commentary: "The team that wins this game is gonna be the team that scores the most points."

Dave in IDAHO

Mike, I'm not sure I understand your sarcasm. I think Mr Gottlieb's comment is appropriate in that the interpretation we all believe to be the correct interpretation will be THE interpretation aggreed upon by the U. S. Supreme Court. I mean, they better damn well interpret what the amendment says to be what it means!

Mike Diehl

The point is that "what the second amendment means" is the very issue that the USSJC is deciding, and in the past it has not always decided that in ways that we would like. Gottleib basically stated that the USSJC will do what it will do, and that is a non-observation.

But this all has me thinking about the various parsings of "well regulated" and "militia" and "the people." The 2nd Amendment would be unique if it alone of the Amendments speaks to a collective rather than individual right. If it does, perhaps 2nd Amendment advocates can make a case that the 4th-6th and 9th Amendments also speak to collective rights (for certain groups, not to include people who work for, for example, the Brady Campaign).

That was tongue in cheek of course.

The other thought that I had was a serious thought. If one looks at the historical context of firearms ownership, there is a compelling implicit case for a "de facto" right to keep and bear arms under the 9th Amendment.


Mike Diehl,
Can you clarify what the implicit case for a right to keep and bear arms under the 9th amendment is. I'm at a loss about this.

Mike Diehl

Sure. I am suggesting that if the court ever found that the 2nd Amendment essentially gives the people the right to form a militia, then the 9th Amendment might be viewed as backstop protection for individual firearms ownership because, at the time of the Constitutional Congress, most firearms owners were not members of a militia.

The text of the 9th Amendment:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

At the time the 9th Amendment was written, firearms ownership was widespread and commonplace. It was a culturally accepted norm. If there was any controversy about it, one would expect far more restrictive firearms laws in effect throughout the states. But instead there is very little evidence of same. If the 2nd Amendment really is all about militias, why were there so few otherwise restrictive laws? Answer: because widespread and commonplace customs of individual ownership of THINGS (including firearms) were recognized as so obviously a "right" that they were covered generally by the 9th Amendment.


Very few ever get past the 2nd A when learning the foundation of this nation.

fewer still have ever even READ the 9th...much less understand what it says and means.

When debating the 2A i often refer to the 9th...its amazing how few know it...10 ammendments and few get past the 2nd and think that the 1st is all about free speech...5 specific rights are laid out in the 1st...only 1 in the 2nd..our founders thought the Right to bare arms and armed bears was so important that it was left to stand alone and the issue was HOTLY debated in the continental congress as to what was THE most important right. So in compromise, 5 basic rights in the 1st and 1 VERY important right in the 2nd...the right to keeping yours and families arse safe fed and free!

Never did see the room for all this debate over 2nd. 2nd and 9th are pretty simple to understand even for the slowest of us humans!

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