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Sun, May 19

Letter: Courts and right to bear arms


This is in reference to Shoemaker’s Second Amendment article. There have been Supreme Court cases prior to the one referred to by him.

United States v. Cruikshank, (92 U.S. 542 in 1875) said, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.” This decision states that Congress may not ban arms, but says nothing about control, such as weapon types or registration.

Columbia vs. Heller (554 U.S. 570 (2008) modified the earlier decision. Justice Scalia made use of the Fourth Amendment which states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons … shall not be violated.” Hence, the right of persons to possess firearms for lawful purposes, such as self-defense, may not be prohibited.

Not noted in the Shoemaker article was another statement by Scalia, “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…” In McDonald vs. City of Chicago (2010), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment applies to the states.

If Shoemaker had read the numerous decisions by the court he might discover that Supreme Court justices are more than fossilized ideologs. His attempts to polarize readers is symptomatic of all true believers. Paranoia about the far-left successfully repealing the Second Amendment is unwarranted.

Responsible people, acting responsibly with reasonable weapons, have little to fear about a total ban.

Robert Chanaud



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