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June 26, 2008

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Breaking News: Supreme Court Declares Individual Gun Rights

The Supreme Court has ended the long debate. For the first time in the nation’s history, the United States Constitution officially and specifically protects your individual right to bear arms, as a result of this morning’s 5-4 decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, No. 07-290. The court’s landmark ruling declares: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Dick Anthony Heller, who carries a handgun for his job guarding federal judiciary offices, wanted to keep his gun at home. The District of Columbia said no, based on a 1976 law making it virtually impossible to legally possess a handgun in the nation’s capital. In March, 2007, a United States Court of Appeals overturned the city ordinance. And now, writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia declares that the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” thus rendering the D.C. ban unconstitutional.

For gun owners and gun-rights advocates, today’s decision is a monumental victory. But then there’s the fine print:

In defining the Second Amendment’s hazy language for the first time and concluding that the right to bear arms belongs to the individual (and not just to states for maintaining militias), the court has ended one debate. In stating that the right is not absolute, however, it no doubt sparks many more. Today is a triumph. But the fight ain’t over.

For more, see:

The Chicago Tribune

The Washington Post:

CNN:

The Associated Press:

The New York Times


Comments

Yesterday the liberal members of the Supreme Court ruled Louisiana can not execute a man who raped an 8 year old girl. All four of the conservative justices, that Obama has criticized by name and called extreme, voted to allow the State of Louisiana to decide the penalty for child rape. Today, the justices that Obama opposed voted to uphold our basic right to gun ownership, while the liberals said there is no Second Amendment Right to bear arms. If child rape and gun bans were popular- I guess the Democrats wouldn't need the courts to make policy for them. The next president will probably appoint at least 2 justices.

ha, ha. I cannot wait till one of the murderers(highest murder rates in the country!) in D.C gets shot throught the head with a .44 by his victim.

jack

My celebration is tempered by what the opinion did NOT say. Scalia's ruling only addressed the right of a person to keep a loaded gun "in his home". The opinion did not address, (nor could it - because that was not the question before the Court), the right of a person to carry a firearm at any time in any location.

I see much more litigation on these other issues regarding right-to-carry, licensing, regulation, etc.

Nevertheless, it is truly a landmark case that will serve as the root of future cases.

I say to all, do not rest on the laurels of this victory. There is still much work ahead. Get involved in amending your State constitutions so as to solidify and expand the issues left unaddressed by the US Supreme Court.

Bubba

A fluke touchdown in the final seconds of the Super Bowl can make a lesser team World Champions. Dallas' shellacking of New England (50 something to 12) is a decisive victory, leaving no doubt as to who was Champion.
The SCOTUS was split 5 for/4 against. That is a terribly narrow margin. Had the split been at least 6/3 or greater, I would feel a lot easier. It would take Obama only one appointed justice, and bring the SA up again and todays decision could/would(?) be struck down!
The fat lady ain't sung yet. Hang on to your drawers Gertie, the battle has just begun!

Bubba

Bubba

On the other side:

"HOORAY FOR OUR SIDE!!!"

Bubba

Blue Ox

SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!

JohnR

I agree with Bubba, there are more battles ahead i.e. what are "reasonable" gun laws. Gun laws are still too oppressive in this country!

Matt

This is a great victory!

Dan

What we don't see in the 5/4 split was the wrangling over which positions would attract support from how many of the judges. Doubtless some of the discussion revolved around whether they would get 5 to support strict scrutiny, or lesser levels, or leaving that question open (the choice they took -- not so good for us), or how many would opt to support clear limits on how much regulation is acceptable (they didn't clarify that, either). HOWEVER, while it wasn't even really a judicial *question* before, it *has* established the issues that will be next on the agenda: how much can Bloomberg's city-boys('n girls) get away with regulating before it really constitutes a substantial restriction of honest and honorable citizens' rights.

Dan

CTB

just a question...why do you feel the need to carry guns in public? and what was up with that guy talking about rape? I mean I know you all want to play johnny law some day with your hand guns, but believe it or not, not everyone in this country knows how to make very rash decisions and if they are carrying a gun. theres a better chance they will overreact to something and use thier gun than actually using it for a purpose. The murder rate in this country would be higher than it already is because people would be able to carry guns and they would think that they could use those guns for any ridiculous reason. You are all saying " no we would only use it for protection and a good cause" but the 5 or 6 people that will reply this post are part of a very small percentage of people that know how to use firearms responsibly. a majority of people will use this as an excuse to use there guns simply because they have them. in any situation (besides hunting or shooting for sport) guns are absolutely the last straw in a conflict situation. meaning you only use your firearm if absolutely necessary. and I just dont think that a lot of people (and im talking like 95-98 percent of people) are in situations everyday that would require them to carry a gun. besides cops and servicemen and women of course.

CTB

but i do agree 100% with being able to have firearms for protection in your home. it is your responsibility to protect your home and family. and if somebody breaks into your home you can only assume the mean to cause harm to your family.

Mike

To CTB,

Altho i uphold the right to your opinion and your right to speak it...i must respectfully say that your opinion fails in light of facts. (save of course "guns are the LAST resort")

There are MANY concealed handguns on persons in many places in this state (bars, liquor stores, churches, sports facilities etc,etc)...and some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation. (IN)

Carrying a concealed handgun by private citizens is MUCH different than a service weapon carried by police...and carrying a weapon in public in the U.S. is VERY different than carrying in a battle zone or even stateside service. (in other words, service members are not necissarily the best candidates for carrying)

"the right of the PEOPLE" (meaning citizens of these United States) ALL citizens have a right to self defense...be they LEO, Armed Service, judge, lawyer or run of the mill service worker/mother/father. ALL are run of the mill, plain jane CITIZENS in the eyes of the court. (or so the constitution says)

Respectfully,

Mike

P.S. The battle has only just begun...but we have a fine new weapon with which to gird our loins!

PBurns

I would recommend folks READ THE OPINION. Here is the link to that >> http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/07-290.html


Here is an important part of the opinion, written by Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of the Court (and a gun owner and hunter):

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court's opinion should not 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."

In short, the Supreme Court DID rule on the right to carry a concealed weapon (not a right), the right to any type of gun (not a right), who can own a gun (the licensed), and whether public places can ban guns (yes they can).

That's simply what the court said, and I'm just reporting.

P.

NLkg

CTB:
I also respectfully disagree (with the exception that guns are the last resort, this I very much agree with).

However, the power of guns does not always lie in their actual USE. If we look at history, we see that the USSR and USA had huge amounts of nuclear weapons. However, because the consequences of using these weapons were so large, the argument can be made that the presence of these weapons actually DETERED much violence (and possibly a conventional WWIII)

If criminals know that there is a large chance of someone having a gun in a home/store/business that they are looking at robbing, then the presence of those guns acts as a deterence to the crime, and probably the possible violence that will arise out of it. As we all know, its much easier for a criminal to attack/rob people that are unarmed, and that they always choose the path of least resistance. So by allowing citizens to be armed (while yes, proliferating arms) it makes it more difficult (and less desirable) for criminals to break the law and cause violence.

I understand your point about people getting "trigger happy" and overreacting in public with a concealed handgun that they have. However, in many states there is a rigorous program and accreditation process that one needs to go through in order to get the CCW. While this seems like a form of gun control, I am all for this. With these programs, they do not aim to infringe anyone's right to have and carry a gun, but only to ensure that people know how to conceal, draw, use, and most importantly WHEN to do so.
So as to that, I agree that people MAY be like that, but thats why there are such programs and in my state of NJ people that have CCW's have gone through as much FIREARM training and testing as FBI agents before they get their CCW.

As to the rest of you:
Watch out for Obama. Just as Bubba and others have said, this was not a blowout victory, and the margin could easily be closed and the tables turned, if Obama gets to be president. If he does, expect some anti-gun, anti-personal freedom judges being appointed. And when that happens, we won't be getting news like the good news we got today. It will be bad news.
McCain has made it clear that he is all for the individual right to carry, and that he is a sportsman himself. He is the right choice for us, and will honor our votes for him by appointing conservative judges.

SilverArrow

Half a lump I guess; we got the "Keep" part but the "Bear" part was definitely cast in doubt. I doubt we will see any relief from the more onerous state and local laws regarding actually carrying that Arm we've been allowed to keep. As for the true affect of Heller in possibly erasing the DC handgun ban don't hold your breath. DC can still regulate sales of guns to the extreme such that residents will still have no place to buy them!

Good things:
1. The Court didn't rule against us.
2. Cheif Justice Roberts is likely to be around for a while and has a lot of power in setting Court agenda hence can block cases likely to hurt us if BHO gets in and appoints another Stevens or Ginsberg.
SA

Richard G.

This fight has just begun! The liberals will be in the courts fighting ever "next step" that is possible. The only thing the Court ruling will do is let you have a gun in your HOME. You STILL can not take it with you to defend yourself or your family. You STILL can not own a Semi-Auto Pistol.

The fact that the criminals STILL have the weapons on the street has not changed at all. The crime rate will not be effected by this ruling and the liberals in 6 months will be touting that fact. "See the crime rate hasn't changed." Until we are able to protect ourselves in public and the crimianls know it, the crime will continue in that city.

OT - I was stopped at a traffic check point Tuesday and the Officer wanted to know business I was in, "That I felt the need to carry a gun." It's sad when not even the Police get it.

Richard G.
Troy, NC

CTB. I was pointing out that liberal justices (and child molesters) won the prior day when the SCOTUS ruled Louisiana couldn't execute a child rapist in a 5-4 split. Their rational was basically that they don't like capital punishment in Europe and most people are against executions for rape. We are one Obama appointment away from an activist court that will support strict gun control. Also, this case was about a security guard who wasn't allowed to keep a hand gun in his own home- not carry permits.

Dennis

What part of "shall not be infringed," is not clear?

Mike Diehl

"a majority of people will use this as an excuse to use there guns simply because they have them."

That is an unsubstantiated claim that in other respects does not coincide with the facts. In the US cities with the highest violent crime rates, most murder victims are criminals shot by criminals, and the risk factor is drugs and gang related activity.

The plain fact is that firearms ownership does not correlate well with the suicide rate -- nations with strict gun bans have comparable suicide rates with the US, and Japan's rate is highest internationally. Permissive ownership does not correlate with violent crime rates internationally, nor in comparisons among US cities, although there is anecdotal evidence that mandatory gun ownership does in fact deter crime.

The risk factors for violent death in the US, apart from "being in an automobile" are substance abuse and affiliation with a criminal enterprise.

Bubba

CTB,

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not *angry* with you, but must question your thoughts!

When *people* question the "right to carry", the first thing that comes out of their mouths is, "If all those people carrying opened up in public, how many innocent people would get hurt?" Basically, quick to condemn!
Now, the folks, insane, felons, etc...., that DO "open up in public", killing, ala VT, UNI, and other places, had to face armed citizens that might stop the killing earlier, I must ask: "Why NOT!"
I have stated this before and I'll state it again!
If (I'll use VT because of the total dead!) an armed citizen had drawn their weapon, fired on the assailant, inadvertantly killed an innocent bystander, collected themselves, fired again and neutralized the shooter at say, victim 30, do you think that victims 31 through 36 would be thankful? I'll answer that! Probably not, because they would no longer be "VICTIMS!"

Bubba

Bubba

I suppose, CTB, the question I'm asking is: Rather than question how many innocents "may" be hurt, what about the innocents that "are" being hurt?

Bubba

Mike

Or Bubba.....ask how many scumbags get dead and how many "innocents" are left to go home to there families.

But then again those that "fear" guns (such as CTB here) would cry and wail because afore mentioned scumbag became the "victim".

I can already hear it (or have heard it) "Poor, poor Danny boy, he was a good boy...he was just misunderstood...why did that evil person have to gun him down....he only killed 4 people!"

Mike

jstreet

The other side of that coin is when a person with a CCW fires their weapon without just cause.

I live in Indiana (where no training is required) and recently a lady shot a man in the chest who was approaching her car. He was tired of her tailgating his motorcycle and stopped @ a red light, got off his bike and approached (unarmed I must add) her to tell her to back off his ass. She freaked and shot him in the chest. Luckily, he didn't die, but she may be facing charges. Did she feel threatened? Probably, but she should have locked he door and pulled around him (if possible). Pulling that gun should be a last resort.

The kicker to this story is three months earlier she had pulled her gun on another man on the road where apparently a very similiar situation (of her tailgating another vehicle) occured. This guy saw the gun and drove away.

Point being, be sure of the legal consequences before pulling that gun and/or firing it. So many people don't have the proper training to assess the situation and determine when/if deadly force is necessary.

I'm all for CCW, but I have always felt comprehensive training should accompany it.

Jim

r napolitano

the struggle continues, the liberals are already talking about packing the court if they win in november and reversing the ruling. In NYC the hysteria level is already at a fever pitch, with all the newspapers condeming the ruling and the politicans still talking about "reasonable" control measures, in NYC the yearly fee is 360.00 and the process is interminable, and ony 2500 people have carry permits, excluding retired NYPD personnal. Plus a city permit is good thruout the state but a state pemit is not good in NYC or some of the LI suburbs, in effect a de facto ban in additiona to a "poll
tax" to exercise ones right to even own a gun in the city, and the restrictions apply to long guns in the city also. SO the struggle continues.

Mike

Jim:

I to am in IN.....and prefer the way it is.....I am not a rich man....and with todays economy (gas prices, food prices, ammunition prices, etc, etc) I can hardly afford to buy ammunition or the fuel it takes to goto the range and practice my pistol and rifle skills. Much less have the money to pay some "instructor" $200 - $500 to "train" me so I may have access to my right.

What happened in your tale is not a good thing...but one should know and understand the purpose and reasons for CCW and deadly force BEFORE strapping on a gun. The court system WILL teach her now.

Over 10 years i have been carrying here in IN...and have yet to draw down on a human (THANKFULLY) And will be applying for my lifetime license next year.

Should i be FORCED to pay for a class to access my God given right even tho i have demonstrated for 10 years that i have what it takes to carry responsibly?!?!?!




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