• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: A Big Victory For Individual Rights

    Each morning, District of Columbia special police officer Dick Heller reports to his job protecting the Federal Judicial Center, where he takes possession of a handgun that he carriers throughout the day. Despite the fact that the city trusts Heller to carry a handgun all day in order to protect the courthouse, the city denied him a permit to keep a gun at home in order to protect his family. The District of Columbia has one of then nation’s most draconian handgun bans, and yesterday the Supreme Court struck down the law, finding that the Constitution’s Second Amendment does protect an individual’s right to to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.

    Far-left critics of the decision are already claiming that the decision represents “judicial activism.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion is a textbook example of constitutional originalism. Using simple grammar and crystal-clear logic, Scalia destroys the argument of dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens that the first half of the Second Amendment — “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State” — negates the second — “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Scalia writes:

    Logic demands that there be a link between the stated purpose and the command. The Second Amendment would be nonsensical if it read, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to petition for redress of grievances shall not be infringed.” … That requirement of logical connection may cause a prefatory clause to resolve an ambiguity in the operative clause. But apart from that clarifying function, a prefatory clause does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.

    Justice Stephen Breyer’s defense is equally specious, constructing a convoluted balancing test that ultimately reaches the conclusion that the state’s interest in controlling crime outweighs an individuals right to bear arms. Nevermind that since the District of Columbia first instituted its ban on handguns, there has been only one year (1985) that the homicide rate in the city fell below what it was in 1976. Worse, in 15 of the 29 years since the ban went into effect, D.C. had either the first or second highest murder rate among the nation’s 50 largest cities. A National Academy of Sciences report based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications and a survey of 80 different gun-control laws, shows no link between restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms violence or even accidents with guns.

    Even if the court’s four far-left members who dissented in the decision do not understand the issue, the American people do. According to Gallup, 73% of the U.S. public believes the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to own guns. And almost 7 out of 10 Americans are opposed to a law that would make the possession of a handgun illegal.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Morning Bell: A Big Victory For Individual Rights

    1. Matthew Polk says:

      I is against the Law, to keep Law abiding American citisens, from owning guns. This is what I've read in the constitution.

    2. Dave McDuffie, Lagun says:

      The constitution plainly spells out and states "individual rights"! Not the rights of one who belongs to a militia or group, individual rights. Liberals ALWAYS try to mangle the words of our constitution and bill of rights, trying to insinuate that the writers really "meant something else"! The writers meant exactly what they said, and its not for some stupid liberal(or conservative for that matter)to legislate from the bench. We really need to get rid of the Supreme Idiots. This is really a very dangerous, anti American group of people and if the Marxist Obama sleazes his way into office we will have one of two choices to make. 1) give up our country or 2)just the opposite.

    3. BMoore, Pittsburgh, says:

      Could you imagine if Gore was president, Americans would be losing their guns. He would have elected liberal judges. Thank God for President Bush. Americans need to WAKE UP AND NOT LET THIS CONGRESS BRAIN WASH THEM.

    4. Eileen, Mobile, AL says:

      I had a history teacher in High School. When we were discussing the Constitution and Bill of Rights and in a somewhat heated discussion from some students, someone pointed out that the 2nd Amendment was placed in the Constitution for 2 reason. Constitution is there to protect us from the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker but also from our Government from getting out of control. (I went to Catholic School). I think now is that time. I dread that the Liberals over taking over our Country. I think our forefather could foresee that it is possible that a leader and/or congress could be after POWER and could become abusive to it's citizens.

    5. Jeanette, Louisiana says:

      Hello…this is not a new thing that is being talked about here. For years, the Liberals in and out of Congress have been trying to take away every Americans right to own a gun! That's what the NRA has been fighting for years!!! Guns are blamed for the crime rate going up…hello!!!! Guns can't do anything by themselves…they can't shoot anybody on their own…there has to be a couse for the effect of the gun being shot…now, what we do know is that in countries where gun ownership has been banned, the crime rate WENT UP!!!! And who had the guns then,,,the criminals!!! The Bad Guys…they're gonna get them no matter what. The best thing we can realize is that "goodness" cannot be legislated…you can have all the laws you want to on the books and none of them can make people "be good". Respect and politeness have mostly gone by the wayside, and until we start teaching that again and making folks take responsibility for their actions, it's gonna keep getting worse…

    6. William Blackhawk Hi says:

      Why does the supreme court think we would let them change the constitution…..that's not their function….the sad part is that most of the dipwads in this country would let them.

    7. Bob Wilis, Middlebu says:

      My 11 year old grandaughter, when asked why do guns kill people, replied " Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" If an eleven year old can reason that thought why can't adult, college educated people do the same? I think it's because they think that if they can take our guns from us we will then be under their CONTROL! I don't advocate violence, but if the liberals continue to push this crap at us, then we need to do something to stop it. The best way I can think of is for everyone to start voting and getting the right people into office to protect our rights. Another thing to consider is, if a person has been in office for one term he has learned some maybe not so good traits, like how to steal, how to eliminate some rights and control the populace, so I think the appropriate term limit for any elected official should be one term only. This can only be effected when our legal residents register and vote and send the message to all elected officials that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND IF YOU CAN'T GET IT RIGHT IN THE FIRST TERM THEN GO GET ANOTHER JOB AND LET SOMEONE ELSE IN AND MAYBE THEY CAN. Americans need to wake up, before it's too late and find themselves under Muslim control, and take control of THEIR country away from the liberals and disadents who wish to do it HARM!!!

    8. John Keenan, Boise, says:

      It was a well-reasoned decision that clearly demonstrated the historical roots of the right to bear arms and the right to defend one's own family and home from injury and invasion. The Second Amendment simply recognizes such a right. It does not create such a right. Can a law be taken seriously that prohibits a homeowner from protecting himself or herself with a gun against another person who entered the homeowners house with the intent was to kill, rape, or maim?

    9. Scott A. Milliken Le says:

      Well done you are true americans. Now if we can get the rest of the people to think like us then maybe we can turn this country around to the way is was when we were growing up. When parents could spank there childern and not having to worry about going to jail. One can only hope!!!!

    10. Richard Slater says:

      Great work!
      Happy to let you know that your blog is reviewed at my blog. Your rest of the posts are really helpful, I have included your blog url at my blog roll also.

    11. Richard Slater says:

      I have read a number of your post and I love it, can't wait to read some more.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×