Monday, June 22, 2009

Second Amendment Rights, Do You Have Any?

Not according to two appellate courts, but a third asserts that you do. Why the controversy? Technically the U.S. Constitution as originally written only applies to laws enacted by the Federal Government, not state or local governments. However in the post-Civil War era, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. Among other clauses the 14th Amendment states:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This clause may be of great benefit to gun owners in the near future as the “citizenship clause” may be used to strike down many state and local firearms restrictions. A recent article in the Bar Associations jounal details the importance of the incorporation and citizenship clauses of the 14th Amendment and how the Second Amendment is a sort of odd amendment out at this point. The difference in legal precedent almost requires a Supreme Court hearing, but some are skeptical that the justices will hear the case.

I honestly hope that some of these cases will be heard by the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment is henceforth applied to the states the way the First Amendment is. The NRA is appealing the recent Chicago ruling to the Supreme Court, so that may be the lightning rod case. I’ll continue to follow developments as they come in.

Until next time!!!


Troy said...

I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some of these issues making their way to the Supreme Court... But with some of the very "narrow", lightly-stepping rulings they've given out lately, I wouldn't be surprised either if nothing much actually changed!

Fingolfen said...

The key would a ruling like in Nordyke where a state/local law is struck down on 2nd amendment grounds. If so, then no state or local unilateral gun control law is safe from challenge...