12345...102030...


‘Second Amendment’ weekend in Mississippi – WTOK

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The sale of guns and ammunition will be exempt from the state’s 7% sales tax Friday through Sunday in Mississippi.

Named for the constitutional right to bear arms, the exemption was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2014.

Even without a state law, a store in Oxford is offering a 7 percent discount on books the same three days.

Square Books will collect the state sales tax but discount its prices by the same percentage. General manager Lyn Roberts says the discount celebrates the First Amendment right of free speech.

Roberts says this is the second year for the store to offer the book discount. She says “it’s not against” the Second Amendment weekend, but this is a way of honoring other constitutional rights too.

Go here to see the original:

‘Second Amendment’ weekend in Mississippi – WTOK

Breyer: Second Amendment Not About ‘the Right of an Individual to Keep a Gun Next to His Bed’ – PJ Media

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said in an interview aired Tuesday that judges make poor politicians, that he misses late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to a citizen keeping a gun next to their bed.

In a wide-ranging interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Breyer said he thought Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the 1857Dred Scott v. Sandford decision that found blacks could not be American citizens, “tried to be a politician.”

“And he thought that — perhaps he thought, that by reaching a decision saying a black person was not a person, that’s roughly what he held, unbelievable. But, he thought he would help prevent the Civil War…if anything, he helped bring about the Civil War because Benjamin Curtis wrote a great dissent showing, I think, at the time, his decision was wrong. It’s not using hindsight, but really wrong. Abraham Lincoln picked it up, read Taney’s decision and said this is a shocker, then used the dissent in his speech at Cooper Union,” Breyer noted.

“Which was the speech that propelled him to the head of the Republican Party, and helped get him the nomination and then all followed. He was really an abolitionist at heart. They knew that in the South and then, the Civil War followed,” he added. “So, if that was Taney’s idea, he was wrong. Judges are not good politicians. They may have some exposure to politics, but that’s what I mean when I say junior league.”

Breyer recalled Scalia being a masterful writer. “The job of a judge in an appellate court is, in an opinion, to explain the reasons why he or she reached this opinion,” he said. “Now, I don’t think that that calls for or requires what you might be able to do in terms of great phrasing but if you can do that, it can be an advantage. But what I meant because people — when Nino and I use — I miss him, I do.”

Breyer stressed that “it’s a big country” with 320 million people who “think a lot of different things,” thus “it is not such a terrible thing, if on the Supreme Court, there are people who have different, somewhat different jurisprudential outlooks.”

“You know, Scalia probably likes rules more than I do. He tends to find clarity in trying to get a clear rule. I have probably more of a view that life is a mess,” the justice said, adding that it comes down to “basic outlook about the Constitution, how it applies today to people who must live under it.”

“Those are where the differences come up. It’s not politics.”

Breyer said people shouldn’t look at the High Court as a political arbiter. “It is not the Supreme Court that tells people what to do. [The Constitution] sets boundaries. We are, in a sense, the boundary commission,” he said. “…But don’t make the mistake of confusing a tough question at the boundary with the fact about what the document is like, because the document leaves vast space in between the boundaries for people themselves through the ballot box to decide what cities, towns, states, what kind of a nation they want. That’s what this foresees, and if you do not participate, it won’t work.”

View original post here:

Breyer: Second Amendment Not About ‘the Right of an Individual to Keep a Gun Next to His Bed’ – PJ Media

Mississippi celebrates ‘Second Amendment Weekend’ with no sales tax on guns, ammunition – WBRZ

JACKSON, Miss. – Shoppers in Mississippi can save money based on constitutional rights.

The Second Amendment weekend, taking place Friday through Sunday, exempts guns and ammunition from the state’s 7 percent sales tax. Named for the constitutional right to bear arms, the exemption was signed into law by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in 2014.

Even without a state law, a store in Oxford is offering a 7 percent discount on books the same three days.

Square Books will collect the state sales tax. General manager Lyn Roberts says the discount celebrates the First Amendment rights of free speech.

Roberts says this is the second year for the store to offer the book discount. She says “it’s not against” the Second Amendment weekend, but is a way of honoring other constitutional rights.

Read this article:

Mississippi celebrates ‘Second Amendment Weekend’ with no sales tax on guns, ammunition – WBRZ

D.C. attorney general wants federal judges to look at city’s strict gun … – Washington Post

The Districts top lawyer on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to rehear a challenge to the citys strict limits on carrying concealed firearms.

Attorney General Karl A. Racines decision follows a ruling last month from a three-judge panel that blocks the Districts requirement of a good reason to obtain a permit because the requirement prevents most residents from carrying guns in public places.

City officials say the restrictions are common sense gun rules needed to promote public safety in the nations capital. Racine wants a full complement of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the panels ruling against the city.

Review by the full court is necessary due to the importance of this question, which affects the safety of every person who lives in, works in, or visits the District, according to the new court filing. Through their elected representatives, District residents have decided that public carrying without good reason is inconsistent with public safety.

The citys permitting system remains in effect while the appeal is under review. If the court declines to revisit the panels decision, the order to permanently block enforcement of the good reason requirement would take effect seven days later.

In its 2-to-1 ruling last month, the panel found the D.C. law in violation of the Second Amendment.

Bans on the ability of most citizens to exercise an enumerated right would have to flunk any judicial test, wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith, who was joined by Judge Stephen F. Williams.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented, siding with the city and finding that the regulation passes muster because of the Districts unique security challenges and because the measure does not affect the right to keep a firearm at home.

[Appeals court blocks enforcement of D.C.s strict concealed-carry law]

The Supreme Court in 2008 used a D.C. case to declare for the first time an individual right to gun ownership apart from military service. But the high court has shown little interest in going further to decide whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home.

In June, for instance, the Supreme Court declined to take up a California case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.

[Gun ruling raises an issue the Supreme Court has been reluctant to review]

Under the Districts law, residents who want a permit to carry a concealed firearm must show that they have good reason to fear injury or a proper reason, such as transporting valuables. The regulations specify that living or working in a high crime area shall not by itself qualify as a good reason to carry.

As of July 15, D.C. police had approved 126 concealed-carry licenses and denied 417 applicants, according to the police department.

The Districts requirement is similar to rules in other states, including Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

Petitions for rehearing by a full complement of judges on the D.C. Circuit are filed frequently, but the court rarely grants such requests, taking up less than a handful each term.

A single judge may call for a vote on such a petition, but a rehearing requires sign-off from a majority of the 11 active judges on the court.

Continued here:

D.C. attorney general wants federal judges to look at city’s strict gun … – Washington Post

LA Times: Restrict the Second Amendment at First Amendment … – Hot Air

The LA Times published an editorial Wednesday titled Dont restrict free speech. Restrict the right to carry guns at potentially explosive public events. The argument is that free speech is too important to restrict but, for safetys sake, police should be willing to tell people no guns allowed at outdoor rallies. And as the Times points out, its not just right-wing gun owners bringing weapons to these rallies.

Virginia is a preemption state that also allows open carry, and the nation saw the results at Charlottesville, where paramilitary militias men heavily armed with military-style weapons and in some cases battle gear appeared as part of the Unite the Right rally. But far-left groups, including the so-calledRedneck Revolt, a liberal pro-gun group, have alsoparaded aroundwith their firearms at various demonstrations.

That last link is a reference to armed members of Redneck Revolt who showed up in Phoenix last night, but the same group was also present in Charlottesville. The groups own report on the situation says they had 20 members on the street, most carrying rifles:

Today, with hundreds more white supremacists expected to converge on Charlottesville, our Redneck Revolt branches worked together with local organizers to create and secure a staging area at Justice Park, within a short distance of the planned Unite the Right rally location, Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park). Approximately 20 Redneck Revolt members created a securityperimeter around the park, most of them open-carrying tactical rifles.

Im not sure why the Times failed to point out that there were armed, left-wing militia members in Charlottesville except perhaps that it tends to support what Trump said about there being violence (or the potential for it) on many sides. In any case, the Times suggests this is too dangerous to allow it to continue:

This is a problem that the nation must resolve. A group of self-organized, trained and heavily armed men (and these groups are predominantly male) is a paramilitary organization, and giving it megaphones and parade banners doesnt magically transform it into something peaceful. Adding open carry to a contentious event can put public safety at risk, and thepresence of visible firearmscreates unique problems for the police

Its not the right to speech and assembly that should be restricted; its the right to carry guns in certain potentially explosive situations. Gun advocates like to argue they have the right to bear arms as a bulwark against tyrannical government, but government has a responsibility here as well: to keep people safe.

I suspect the editorial writers for the LA Times are not gun owners and, maybe, dont know any gun owners. But its worth noting that despite having two ostensibly opposing groups of armed people in Charlottesville, no shots were fired. It wasnt the gun owners who got violent, it was the kids with flagpoles and onenutwith a muscle car.

Im not a lawyer so maybe there is some sort of time and place exception that could be used by local police when doling out permits. But it seems to me that, ultimately, the state cant dole out one constitutional right to be exercisedat a time. We dont get to have the First Amendment only if we agree togive up the Second, at least I hope not.

Read more here:

LA Times: Restrict the Second Amendment at First Amendment … – Hot Air

Second Amendment legal definition of Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The subject matter and unusual phrasing of this amendment led to much controversy and analysis, especially in the last half of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the meaning and scope of the amendment have long been decided by the Supreme Court.

Firearms played an important part in the colonization of America. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European colonists relied heavily on firearms to take land away from Native Americans and repel attacks by Native Americans and Europeans. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, male citizens were required to own firearms for fighting against the British forces. Firearms were also used in hunting.

In June 1776, one month before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia became the first colony to adopt a state constitution. In this document, the state of Virginia pronounced that “a well regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State.” After the colonies declared their independence from England, other states began to include the right to bear arms in their constitution. Pennsylvania, for example, declared that

the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

The wording of clauses about bearing arms in late-eighteenth-century state constitutions varied. Some states asserted that bearing arms was a “right” of the people, whereas others called it a “duty” of every able-bodied man in the defense of society.

Pennsylvania was not alone in its express discouragement of a standing (professional) army. Many of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution rejected standing armies, preferring instead the model of a citizen army, equipped with weapons and prepared for defense. According to Framers such as Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and George Mason of Virginia a standing army was susceptible to tyrannical use by a power-hungry government.

At the first session of Congress in March 1789, the Second Amendment was submitted as a counterweight to the federal powers of Congress and the president. According to constitutional theorists, the Framers who feared a central government extracted the amendment as a compromise from those in favor of centralized authority over the states. The Revolutionary War had, after all, been fought in large part by a citizen army against the standing armies of England.

The precise wording of the amendment was changed two times before the U.S. Senate finally cast it in its present form. As with many of the amendments, the exact wording proved critical to its interpretation.

In 1791 a majority of states ratified the Bill of Rights, which included the Second Amendment. In its final form, the amendment presented a challenge to interpreters. It was the only amendment with an opening clause that appeared to state its purpose. The amendment even had defective punctuation; the comma before shall seemed grammatically unnecessary.

Legal scholars do not agree about this comma. Some have argued that it was intentional and that it was intended to make militia the subject of the sentence. According to these theorists, the operative words of the amendment are “[a] well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.” Others have argued that the comma was a mistake, and that the operative words of the sentence are “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Under this reading, the first part of the sentence is the rationale for the absolute, personal right of the people to own firearms. Indeed, the historical backdrophighlighted by a general disdain for professional armieswould seem to support this theory.

Some observers argue further that the Second Amendment grants the right of insurrection. According to these theorists, the Second Amendment was designed to allow citizens to rebel against the government. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying that “a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing.”

The Supreme Court makes the ultimate determination of the Constitution’s meaning, and it has defined the amendment as simply granting to the states the right to maintain a militia separate from federally controlled militias. This interpretation first came in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 23 L. Ed. 588 (1875). In Cruikshank, approximately one hundred persons were tried jointly in a Louisiana federal court with felonies in connection with an April 13, 1873, assault on two AfricanAmerican men. One of the criminal counts charged that the mob intended to hinder the right of the two men to bear arms. The defendants were convicted by a jury, but the circuit court arrested the judgment, effectively overturning the verdict. In affirming that decision, the Supreme Court declared that “the second amendment means no more than that [the right to bear arms] shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government.”

In Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S. Ct. 580, 29 L. Ed. 615 (1886), Herman Presser was charged in Illinois state court with parading and drilling an unauthorized militia in the streets of Chicago in December 1879, in violation of certain sections of the Illinois Military Code. One of the sections in question prohibited the organization, drilling, operation, and parading of militias other than U.S. troops or the regular organized volunteer militia of the state. Presser was tried by the judge, convicted, and ordered to pay a fine of $10. On appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Presser argued, in part, that the charges violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Court disagreed and upheld Presser’s conviction. The Court cited Cruikshank for the proposition that the Second Amendment means only that the federal government may not infringe on the right of states to form their own militias. This meant that the Illinois state law forbidding citizen militias was not unconstitutional. However, in its opinion, the Court in Presser delivered a reading of the Second Amendment that seemed to suggest an absolute right of persons to bear arms: “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States,” and “states cannot prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms.”

Despite this generous language, the Court refused to incorporate the Second Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, states may not abridge the Privileges and Immunities of citizens of the United States. The privileges and immunities of citizens are listed in the Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is part. Presser had argued that states may not, by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, abridge the right to bear arms. The Court refused to accept the argument that the right to bear arms is a personal right of the people. According to the Court, “The right to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship.”

The Presser opinion is best understood in its historical context. The Northern states and the federal government had just fought the Civil War against Southern militias unauthorized by the federal government. After this ordeal, the Supreme Court was in no mood to accept an expansive right to bear arms. At the same time, the Court was sensitive to the subject of federal encroachment on States’ Rights.

Private militias are armed military groups that are composed of private citizens and not recognized by federal or state governments. Private militias have been formed by individuals in America since the colonial period. In fact, the Revolutionary War against England was fought in part by armies comprising not professional soldiers but ordinary male citizens.

Approximately half the states maintain laws regulating private militias. Generally, these laws prohibit the parading and exercising of armed private militias in public, but do not forbid the formation of private militias. In Wyoming, however, state law forbids the very formation of private militias. Under section 19-1-106 of the Wyoming Statutes, “No body of men other than the regularly organized national guard or the troops of the United States shall associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or parade in public with arms without license of the governor.” The Wyoming law also prohibits the public funding of private militias. Anyone convicted of violating the provisions of the law is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment of six months, or both, for each offense.

In states that do not outlaw them, private militias are limited only by the criminal laws applicable to all of society. Thus, if an armed private militia seeks to parade and exercise in a public area, its members will be subject to arrest on a variety of laws, including disturbing-the-peace, firearms, or even riot statutes.

Many private militias are driven by the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment. Under this view, the Second Amendment grants an unconditional right to bear arms for Self-Defense and for rebellion against a tyrannical governmentwhen a government turns oppressive, private citizens have a duty to “insurrect,” or take up arms against it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a qualified rejection of the insurrection theory. According to the Court in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951), “[W]hatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a ‘right’ to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.” Scholars have interpreted this to mean that as long as the government provides for free elections and trials by jury, private citizens have no right to take up arms against the government.

Some people have disagreed with the Supreme Court’s definition of tyranny. Many of these people label the state and federal governments as tyrannical based on issues such as taxes and government regulations. Others cite governments ponsored racial and ethnic Integration as driving forces in their campaign against the federal and state governments. Many of these critics have formed private militias designed to resist perceived government oppression.

Some private militias have formed their own government. The legal problems of these private militias are generally unrelated to military activities. Instead, any criminal charges usually arise from activities associated with their political beliefs. The Freemen of Montana is one such militia. This group denied the legitimacy of the federal government and created its own township called Justus. The Freemen established its own court system, posted bounties for the arrest of police officers and judges, and held seminars on how to challenge laws its members viewed as beyond the scope of the Constitution. According to neighbors, the group also established its own common-law court system and built its own jail for the imprisonment of trespassers and government workers, or “public hirelings.”

In the 1990s, the Freemen came to the attention of federal prosecutors after members of the group allegedly wrote worthless checks and money orders to pay taxes and to defraud banks and credit card companies. One Freeman had also allegedly threatened a federal judge, and some had allegedly refused to pay taxes for at least a decade.

In March 1996, law enforcement officials obtained warrants for the arrest of many of the Freemen. However, remembering the violence that occurred when officials attempted to serve arrest warrants on another armed group in Waco, Texas, in 1993, law enforcement authorities did not invade the Freemen’s 960-acre ranch in Jordan, Montana. Although the Freemen constituted an armed challenge to all government authority, its beliefs and its military activities were not illegal, and most of its members were charged with nonviolent crimes, such as Fraud and related conspiracy. Two men were also charged with threatening public officials. In addition, several Freemen faced charges of criminal syndicalism, which is the advocacy of violence for political goals.

Amar, Akhil Reed. 2002. “Second Thoughts.” Law and Contemporary Problems 65 (spring).

Barry, Monica Sue. 1996. “Stockpiling Weapons: Can Private Militias Receive Protection under the First and Second Amendments?” Thomas Jefferson Law Review 18 (spring).

Hardaway, Robert, Elizabeth Gormley, and Bryan Taylor. 2002. “The Inconvenient Militia Clause of the Second Amendment: Why the Supreme Court Declines to Resolve the Debate over the Right to Bear Arms.” St. John’s Journal of Legal Commentary 16 (winter).

Dennis v. United States.

Several decades later, the Supreme Court ignored the contradictory language in Presser and cemented a limited reading of the Second Amendment. In United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S. Ct. 816, 83 L. Ed. 1206 (1939), defendants Jack Miller and Frank Layton were charged in federal court with unlawful transportation of firearms in violation of certain sections of the National Firearms Act of June 26, 1934 (ch. 757, 48 Stat. 12361240 [26 U.S.C.A. 1132 et seq.]). Specifically, Miller and Layton had transported shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, without the registration required under the act.

The district court dismissed the indictment, holding that the act violated the Second Amendment. The United States appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the decision and sent the case back to the trial court. The Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment was fashioned “to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of militia forces.”

The Miller opinion confirmed the restrictive language of Presser and solidified a narrow reading of the Second Amendment. According to the Court in Miller, the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to own a firearm unless the possession or use of the firearm has “a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

The legislative measures that inspire most Second Amendment discussions are Gun Control laws. Since the mid-nineteenth century, state legislatures have been passing laws that infringe a perceived right to bear arms. Congress has also asserted the power to regulate firearms. No law regulating firearms has ever been struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Historically, the academic community has largely ignored the Second Amendment. However, gun control laws have turned many laypersons into scholars of the Second Amendment’s history. The arguments for a broader interpretation are many and varied. Most center on the Original Intent of the Framers. Some emphasize that the Second Amendment should be interpreted as granting an unconditional personal right to bear arms for defensive and sporting purposes. Others adhere to an insurrection theory, under which the Second Amendment not only grants the personal right to bear arms, it gives citizens the right to rebel against a government perceived as tyrannical.

In response to these arguments, supporters of the prevailing Second Amendment interpretation maintain that any right to bear arms should be secondary to concerns for public safety. They also point out that other provisions in the Constitution grant power to Congress to quell insurrections, thus contradicting the insurrection theory. Lastly, they argue that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with a changing society and that the destructive capability of semiautomatic and automatic firearms was not envisioned by the Framers.

In response to the last argument, critics maintain that because such firearms exist, it should be legal to use them against violent criminals who are themselves wielding such weapons.

In the 2000s, federal courts continue to revisit the scope and detail of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In particular federal courts have recast much of the debate as one over whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective” right or an “individual” right to bear arms. If the Second Amendment protects only a collective right, then only states would have the power to bring a legal action to enforce it and only for the purpose of maintaining a “well-regulated militia.” If the Second Amendment protects only an individual right to bear arms, then only individuals could bring suit to challenge gun-control laws that curb their liberty to buy, sell, own, or possess firearms and other guns.

Not surprisingly, courts are conflicted over how to resolve this debate. In United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the original intent of the Founding Fathers supported an individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, while the Ninth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion in Nordyke v. King, 319 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir. 2003). Although no court has concluded that the original intent underlying the Second Amendment supports a claim for both an individual- and a collective rights based interpretation of the right to bear arms, the compelling historical arguments marshaled on both sides of the debate would suggest that another court faced with the same debate may reach such a conclusion.

Amar, Akhil Reed. 1992. “The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.” Yale Law Journal 101 (April).

Becker, Edward R. 1997. “The Second Amendment and Other Federal Constitutional Rights of the Private Militia.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

Bogus, Carl T., ed. 2000. The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms. New York: New Press.

Dolan, Edward F., and Margaret M. Scariano. 1994. Guns in the United States. New York: Watts.

Dunlap, Charles J., Jr. 1995. “Revolt of the Masses: Armed Civilians and the Insurrectionary Theory of the Second Amendment.” Tennessee Law Review 62 (spring).

Hanson, Freya Ottem. 1998. The Second Amendment: The Right to Own Guns. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow.

Hook, Donald D. 1992. Gun Control: The Continuing Debate. Washington, D.C.: Second Amendment Foundation.

Hoppin, Jason. 2003. “Ninth Circuit Upholds Controversial Ruling on Second Amendment.” Legal Intelligencer (May 8).

. 2003. “Second Amendment Fight Steals Show in Gun Ban Case: Panel Enters Fray over Individual Rights.” San Francisco Recorder (February 19).

McAffee, Thomas B. 1997. “Constitutional Limits on Regulating Private Militia Groups.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

Gun Control.

Read more here:

Second Amendment legal definition of Second Amendment

Second Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia …

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Such language has created considerable debate regarding the Amendment’s intended scope. On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.

In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in United States v. Miller. 307 U.S. 174. The Court adopted a collective rights approach in this case, determining that Congress could regulate a sawed-off shotgun that had moved in interstate commerce under the National Firearms Act of 1934 because the evidence did not suggest that the shotgun “has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated milita . . . .” The Court then explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military.

This precedent stood for nearly 70 years when in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court revisited the issue in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290). The plaintiff in Heller challenged the constitutionality of the Washington D.C. handgun ban, a statute that had stood for 32 years. Many considered the statute the most stringent in the nation. In a 5-4 decision, the Court, meticulously detailing the history and tradition of the Second Amendment at the time of the Constitutional Convention, proclaimed that the Second Amendment established an individual right for U.S. citizens to possess firearms and struck down the D.C. handgun ban as violative of that right. The majority carved out Miller as an exception to the general rule that Americans may possess firearms, claiming that law-abiding citizens cannot use sawed-off shotguns for any law-abiding purpose. Similarly, the Court in its dicta found regulations of similar weaponry that cannot be used for law-abiding purposes as laws that would not implicate the Second Amendment. Further, the Court suggested that the United States Constitution would not disallow regulations prohibiting criminals and the mentally ill from firearm possession.

Thus, the Supreme Court has revitalized the Second Amendment. The Court continued to strengthen the Second Amendment through the 2010 decision inMcDonald v. City of Chicago(08-1521). The plaintiff inMcDonaldchallenged the constitutionally of the Chicago handgun ban, which prohibited handgun possession by almost all private citizens. In a 5-4 decisions, the Court, citing the intentions of the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment, held that the Second Amendment applies to the states through theincorporation doctrine.However, the Court did not have a majority on which clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. While Justice Alito and his supporters looked to the Due Process Clause, Justice Thomas in his concurrence stated that the Privileges and Immunities Clause should justify incorporation.

However, several questions still remain unanswered, such as whether regulations less stringent than the D.C. statute implicate the Second Amendment, whether lower courts will apply their dicta regarding permissible restrictions, andwhat level of scrutiny the courts should apply when analyzing a statute that infringes on the Second Amendment. As a general note, when analyzing statutes and ordinances, courts use three levels of scrutiny, depending on the issue at hand:

Recent lower-court case law since Heller suggests that courts are willing to uphold

More recently, the Supreme Court reinforced its Hellerruling in itsCaetano v. Massachusetts(2016) decision. The Court found that the lower “Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was wrong in the three reasons it offered for why the state could ban personal possession or use of a stun gun without violating the Second Amendment.” The Supreme Court, however, remanded the case without further instructions, so this per curiam ruling did not do much to further clarify the Supreme Court’s stance on the Second Amendment.

See constitutional amendment.

Read the original here:

Second Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia …

Breyer: Second Amendment Not About ‘the Right of an Individual to Keep a Gun Next to His Bed’ – PJ Media

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said in an interview aired Tuesday that judges make poor politicians, that he misses late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to a citizen keeping a gun next to their bed.

In a wide-ranging interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Breyer said he thought Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the 1857Dred Scott v. Sandford decision that found blacks could not be American citizens, “tried to be a politician.”

“And he thought that — perhaps he thought, that by reaching a decision saying a black person was not a person, that’s roughly what he held, unbelievable. But, he thought he would help prevent the Civil War…if anything, he helped bring about the Civil War because Benjamin Curtis wrote a great dissent showing, I think, at the time, his decision was wrong. It’s not using hindsight, but really wrong. Abraham Lincoln picked it up, read Taney’s decision and said this is a shocker, then used the dissent in his speech at Cooper Union,” Breyer noted.

“Which was the speech that propelled him to the head of the Republican Party, and helped get him the nomination and then all followed. He was really an abolitionist at heart. They knew that in the South and then, the Civil War followed,” he added. “So, if that was Taney’s idea, he was wrong. Judges are not good politicians. They may have some exposure to politics, but that’s what I mean when I say junior league.”

Breyer recalled Scalia being a masterful writer. “The job of a judge in an appellate court is, in an opinion, to explain the reasons why he or she reached this opinion,” he said. “Now, I don’t think that that calls for or requires what you might be able to do in terms of great phrasing but if you can do that, it can be an advantage. But what I meant because people — when Nino and I use — I miss him, I do.”

Breyer stressed that “it’s a big country” with 320 million people who “think a lot of different things,” thus “it is not such a terrible thing, if on the Supreme Court, there are people who have different, somewhat different jurisprudential outlooks.”

“You know, Scalia probably likes rules more than I do. He tends to find clarity in trying to get a clear rule. I have probably more of a view that life is a mess,” the justice said, adding that it comes down to “basic outlook about the Constitution, how it applies today to people who must live under it.”

“Those are where the differences come up. It’s not politics.”

Breyer said people shouldn’t look at the High Court as a political arbiter. “It is not the Supreme Court that tells people what to do. [The Constitution] sets boundaries. We are, in a sense, the boundary commission,” he said. “…But don’t make the mistake of confusing a tough question at the boundary with the fact about what the document is like, because the document leaves vast space in between the boundaries for people themselves through the ballot box to decide what cities, towns, states, what kind of a nation they want. That’s what this foresees, and if you do not participate, it won’t work.”

Read more:

Breyer: Second Amendment Not About ‘the Right of an Individual to Keep a Gun Next to His Bed’ – PJ Media

LA Times: Restrict the Second Amendment at First Amendment rallies – Hot Air

The LA Times published an editorial Wednesday titled Dont restrict free speech. Restrict the right to carry guns at potentially explosive public events. The argument is that free speech is too important to restrict but, for safetys sake, police should be willing to tell people no guns allowed at outdoor rallies. And as the Times points out, its not just right-wing gun owners bringing weapons to these rallies.

Virginia is a preemption state that also allows open carry, and the nation saw the results at Charlottesville, where paramilitary militias men heavily armed with military-style weapons and in some cases battle gear appeared as part of the Unite the Right rally. But far-left groups, including the so-calledRedneck Revolt, a liberal pro-gun group, have alsoparaded aroundwith their firearms at various demonstrations.

That last link is a reference to armed members of Redneck Revolt who showed up in Phoenix last night, but the same group was also present in Charlottesville. The groups own report on the situation says they had 20 members on the street, most carrying rifles:

Today, with hundreds more white supremacists expected to converge on Charlottesville, our Redneck Revolt branches worked together with local organizers to create and secure a staging area at Justice Park, within a short distance of the planned Unite the Right rally location, Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park). Approximately 20 Redneck Revolt members created a securityperimeter around the park, most of them open-carrying tactical rifles.

Im not sure why the Times failed to point out that there were armed, left-wing militia members in Charlottesville except perhaps that it tends to support what Trump said about there being violence (or the potential for it) on many sides. In any case, the Times suggests this is too dangerous to allow it to continue:

This is a problem that the nation must resolve. A group of self-organized, trained and heavily armed men (and these groups are predominantly male) is a paramilitary organization, and giving it megaphones and parade banners doesnt magically transform it into something peaceful. Adding open carry to a contentious event can put public safety at risk, and thepresence of visible firearmscreates unique problems for the police

Its not the right to speech and assembly that should be restricted; its the right to carry guns in certain potentially explosive situations. Gun advocates like to argue they have the right to bear arms as a bulwark against tyrannical government, but government has a responsibility here as well: to keep people safe.

I suspect the editorial writers for the LA Times are not gun owners and, maybe, dont know any gun owners. But its worth noting that despite having two ostensibly opposing groups of armed people in Charlottesville, no shots were fired. It wasnt the gun owners who got violent, it was the kids with flagpoles and onenutwith a muscle car.

Im not a lawyer so maybe there is some sort of time and place exception that could be used by local police when doling out permits. But it seems to me that, ultimately, the state cant dole out one constitutional right to be exercisedat a time. We dont get to have the First Amendment only if we agree togive up the Second, at least I hope not.

Visit link:

LA Times: Restrict the Second Amendment at First Amendment rallies – Hot Air

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

A very strange thing has happened since last weekends dreadful violence in Charlottesville. White supremacists used virtually every form of weapon except guns, yet somehow the Second Amendment is now under fire. Even worse, those who lawfully exercise the right to keep and bear arms now have fewer defenders when they also choose to speak.

It started with Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. In remarks that were oddly enough edited out of a New York Times article, McAuliffe claimed that 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. He further asserted that militia members had better equipment than our state police. He also said that white supremacists had weapons stashed around the city.

The Virginia state police disputed the governors claims, stating that theyd specifically looked for weapons stashes and no weapons were located. Further, they assured the public that they were not outgunned by militias. A spokesperson said the police were equipped with more-than-adequate specialized tactical and protective gear for the purpose of fulfilling their duties to protect the people present at the protests.

No matter. Claims that gun-toting militia members had somehow chilled free speech rocketed around the Web. Yet who, exactly, was deterred from speaking last weekend? Not only were people speaking, they were shrieking, chanting, yelling, and arguing. Few were deterred even from brawling.

Then, yesterday, a more significant shoe dropped. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American Civil Liberties Union will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms. In other words, the groups anti-gun stance is now directly influencing its First Amendment advocacy. Its executive director, Anthony Romero, told the Journal that the decision was in keeping with a 2015 policy adopted by the ACLUs national board in support of reasonable firearm regulation.

For all its flaws and inconsistencies in other areas, the ACLU had been one of the last well-resourced national legal organizations that were truly non-partisan in defending First Amendment freedoms such as the right to march and speak in Charlottesville. Indeed, a local ACLU chapter had defended the alt-rights liberties at that very protest. But now the ACLUs message was clear: lawfully exercise Second Amendment rights, and well turn our backs on your First Amendment freedoms.

The law already prohibits true threats, and there are an array of legal restrictions on the place and manner of bearing arms depending on the jurisdiction and location. Under existing precedent, groups that engage in threats or violate local firearms laws face severe legal consequences. The ACLUs position, however, is that it will not represent a category of organizations that are completely compliant with the applicable laws.

The ACLU is a private organization, and it has complete discretion to choose its clients, but its action reveals the extent to which arguments about civil liberties are becoming dangerously partisan and short-sighted. The ACLU has enjoyed an enormous surge in membership and donations since itpositioned itself as the law firm of the #Resistance, but a number of these new members are completely ignorant of the organizations traditional First Amendment work and were furious when they found out the ACLUs role in protecting the alt-rights constitutional rights.

Thus, yet another negative result of last weekends deadly violence is that both the First and Second Amendments are under increasing cultural pressure. Rather than focus on the actual violence that caused so much pain and harm last weekend, activists are renewing calls for so-called hate-speech restrictions, and theyre increasing demands for restrictions on the right to bear arms. The ACLU is a key pressure point. Rights that dont enjoy a robust defense are not rights at all. The Constitution is not a self-executing document.

At this point, the gun-rights debate is almost beyond the reach of facts. A weekend that was notable mainly for an act of vehicular terror has become a pretext for discouraging the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Sadly, our First Amendment debates are racing in the same direction. All too many Americans seek the power to suppress and shame more than they cultivate the ability to rebut and persuade. Alt-right drivel isnt a threat to the constitutional experiment. A culture that values censorship over debate, however, is.

And lest we think these categories are easy, and that its possible to suppress the rights of the worst people without touching the civil liberties of the mainstream, consider this. I used to work at an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. Its deemed a hate group in large part because it holds to an orthodox Christian view of sexual morality and gender identity. I hold those same views. Im also a concealed-carry permit holder. My wife and I carry a weapon virtually all the time because of threats, ironically enough, from the alt-right. Should the ACLU defend my right to speak?

Sadly, there are many Americans who would say no. They hate my viewpoint too much. They hate guns too much. The allure of power and control is too strong. They see little value in dissent, especially on the most sensitive cultural issues, and they utterly reject the concept of an armed citizenry. Yet even terrible crimes shouldnt cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.

Our constitutional republic and our culture of free speech have endured and prospered in the worst of attacks, events far worse than even the dreadful crimes in Charlottesville. It suffers, however, in the face of cultural retreat and surrender. The alt-right is too pathetic to warrant the slightest compromise. Yet thats exactly what the ACLU did, and short-sighted Americans applauded.

The alt-right hates American traditions and American liberties. Why grant it the slightest influence over American life?

READ MORE: Everything Wrong with the Gun Debate in One Tweet Where the Public Stands on Gun Issues A New Study about Guns & Children

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Go here to see the original:

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

US Supreme Court Disappoints on Right-to-Carry, but Justice Gorsuch Shines – NRA ILA

Gun owners were justifiably disappointed June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Peruta v. California. The denial was a setback in NRAs efforts to secure judicial recognition that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms outside the home. For now, misguided state and local governments will continue to deny their residents Right-to-Carry.

The Peruta case began back in October 2009, when plaintiff Edward Peruta filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California arguing that San Diego County Sheriff William Gore violated his Second Amendment rights. Under Californias permitting law, Gore had wide discretion to deny carry permits to applicants unless they demonstrated good cause for obtaining it. A desire to exercise the Second Amendment right to self-defense did not meet the sheriffs definition of good cause.

At the outset, a key argument for the defense held that San Diegos interpretation of Californias permit law did not extinguish Perutas Second Amendment right, as California did not prohibit individuals from openly carrying an unloaded handgun outside the home. However, in 2011, California enacted a law prohibiting the open carry of handguns.

In 2014, in a tremendously well-reasoned opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that San Diegos enforcement of Californias discretionary permitting scheme violated the Second Amendment. In 2016, however, a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges came to the opposite conclusion. The Ninth Circuit refused to take Californias prohibition on open carry into account, ruling only that the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the carrying of concealed firearms.

However unfortunate, the current cloud over our Second Amendment rights does have a silver lining. Perutas fate confirmed that the newest member of the Supreme Court has a firm commitment to an individuals right to keep and bear arms.

Coinciding with the Courts decision to reject Peruta, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a blistering dissent from the courts denial. He was joined by the newest member of the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Thomas admonished the Ninth Circuits failure to address Californias entire carry scheme as indefensible. Joined by Gorsuch, he went on to explain that the Supreme Court has already suggested that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms in public in some fashion.

Moreover, Thomas addressed the Courts recent substandard treatment of the Second Amendment, calling this development a distressing trend and inexcusable.

Gorsuchs actions represent a major victory for gun owners and reminder of how important elections truly are. Following the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, gun owners faced the prospect of a Court that would pervert the Second Amendment to eliminate its protections for our individual right to keep and bear arms. But gun owners rose to the challenge, putting pressure on their Senators to reject Barack Obamas anti-gun nominee, Merrick Garland. Illustrating the importance gun rights supporters played in this battle, the New York Times editorial page whined, The Senate Defers to the N.R.A.

Gun rights supporters went on to make the Court a pivotal issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, one that helped put Donald Trump in the White House. And when several senators threatened to block any Trump Court pick, NRA stood by the presidents nominee.

Gorsuchs participation in Thomass forceful dissent is tangible evidence that he respects the Second Amendment and the individual right it guarantees.

Moreover, Peruta was not the last chance gun owners will have to vindicate our Right-to-Carry before the Court. A response to the Ninth Circuits ruling in Peruta Flanagan v. Becerra challenges Californias open carry prohibition. And Grace v. District of Columbia is yet another case that may have a critical bearing on our Right-to-Carry in public by challenging the Districts highly restrictive permit regime. In addition to those current cases, more lawsuits are on the way.

Gun owners, just as Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, are right to be disappointed in the Courts recent treatment of the Second Amendment. What we should not do is become discouraged. Gun rights supporters would do well to recall the decades of scholarship, activism, and litigation that led to our victories in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. As long as Second Amendment supporters are resolute in our purpose and work to ensure the appointment of judges and justices that respect our rights, the Second Amendment will once again win at the highest court.

See the original post:

US Supreme Court Disappoints on Right-to-Carry, but Justice Gorsuch Shines – NRA ILA

Second Amendment legal definition of Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The subject matter and unusual phrasing of this amendment led to much controversy and analysis, especially in the last half of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the meaning and scope of the amendment have long been decided by the Supreme Court.

Firearms played an important part in the colonization of America. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European colonists relied heavily on firearms to take land away from Native Americans and repel attacks by Native Americans and Europeans. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, male citizens were required to own firearms for fighting against the British forces. Firearms were also used in hunting.

In June 1776, one month before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia became the first colony to adopt a state constitution. In this document, the state of Virginia pronounced that “a well regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State.” After the colonies declared their independence from England, other states began to include the right to bear arms in their constitution. Pennsylvania, for example, declared that

the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

The wording of clauses about bearing arms in late-eighteenth-century state constitutions varied. Some states asserted that bearing arms was a “right” of the people, whereas others called it a “duty” of every able-bodied man in the defense of society.

Pennsylvania was not alone in its express discouragement of a standing (professional) army. Many of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution rejected standing armies, preferring instead the model of a citizen army, equipped with weapons and prepared for defense. According to Framers such as Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and George Mason of Virginia a standing army was susceptible to tyrannical use by a power-hungry government.

At the first session of Congress in March 1789, the Second Amendment was submitted as a counterweight to the federal powers of Congress and the president. According to constitutional theorists, the Framers who feared a central government extracted the amendment as a compromise from those in favor of centralized authority over the states. The Revolutionary War had, after all, been fought in large part by a citizen army against the standing armies of England.

The precise wording of the amendment was changed two times before the U.S. Senate finally cast it in its present form. As with many of the amendments, the exact wording proved critical to its interpretation.

In 1791 a majority of states ratified the Bill of Rights, which included the Second Amendment. In its final form, the amendment presented a challenge to interpreters. It was the only amendment with an opening clause that appeared to state its purpose. The amendment even had defective punctuation; the comma before shall seemed grammatically unnecessary.

Legal scholars do not agree about this comma. Some have argued that it was intentional and that it was intended to make militia the subject of the sentence. According to these theorists, the operative words of the amendment are “[a] well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.” Others have argued that the comma was a mistake, and that the operative words of the sentence are “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Under this reading, the first part of the sentence is the rationale for the absolute, personal right of the people to own firearms. Indeed, the historical backdrophighlighted by a general disdain for professional armieswould seem to support this theory.

Some observers argue further that the Second Amendment grants the right of insurrection. According to these theorists, the Second Amendment was designed to allow citizens to rebel against the government. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying that “a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing.”

The Supreme Court makes the ultimate determination of the Constitution’s meaning, and it has defined the amendment as simply granting to the states the right to maintain a militia separate from federally controlled militias. This interpretation first came in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 23 L. Ed. 588 (1875). In Cruikshank, approximately one hundred persons were tried jointly in a Louisiana federal court with felonies in connection with an April 13, 1873, assault on two AfricanAmerican men. One of the criminal counts charged that the mob intended to hinder the right of the two men to bear arms. The defendants were convicted by a jury, but the circuit court arrested the judgment, effectively overturning the verdict. In affirming that decision, the Supreme Court declared that “the second amendment means no more than that [the right to bear arms] shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government.”

In Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S. Ct. 580, 29 L. Ed. 615 (1886), Herman Presser was charged in Illinois state court with parading and drilling an unauthorized militia in the streets of Chicago in December 1879, in violation of certain sections of the Illinois Military Code. One of the sections in question prohibited the organization, drilling, operation, and parading of militias other than U.S. troops or the regular organized volunteer militia of the state. Presser was tried by the judge, convicted, and ordered to pay a fine of $10. On appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Presser argued, in part, that the charges violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Court disagreed and upheld Presser’s conviction. The Court cited Cruikshank for the proposition that the Second Amendment means only that the federal government may not infringe on the right of states to form their own militias. This meant that the Illinois state law forbidding citizen militias was not unconstitutional. However, in its opinion, the Court in Presser delivered a reading of the Second Amendment that seemed to suggest an absolute right of persons to bear arms: “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States,” and “states cannot prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms.”

Despite this generous language, the Court refused to incorporate the Second Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, states may not abridge the Privileges and Immunities of citizens of the United States. The privileges and immunities of citizens are listed in the Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is part. Presser had argued that states may not, by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, abridge the right to bear arms. The Court refused to accept the argument that the right to bear arms is a personal right of the people. According to the Court, “The right to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship.”

The Presser opinion is best understood in its historical context. The Northern states and the federal government had just fought the Civil War against Southern militias unauthorized by the federal government. After this ordeal, the Supreme Court was in no mood to accept an expansive right to bear arms. At the same time, the Court was sensitive to the subject of federal encroachment on States’ Rights.

Private militias are armed military groups that are composed of private citizens and not recognized by federal or state governments. Private militias have been formed by individuals in America since the colonial period. In fact, the Revolutionary War against England was fought in part by armies comprising not professional soldiers but ordinary male citizens.

Approximately half the states maintain laws regulating private militias. Generally, these laws prohibit the parading and exercising of armed private militias in public, but do not forbid the formation of private militias. In Wyoming, however, state law forbids the very formation of private militias. Under section 19-1-106 of the Wyoming Statutes, “No body of men other than the regularly organized national guard or the troops of the United States shall associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or parade in public with arms without license of the governor.” The Wyoming law also prohibits the public funding of private militias. Anyone convicted of violating the provisions of the law is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment of six months, or both, for each offense.

In states that do not outlaw them, private militias are limited only by the criminal laws applicable to all of society. Thus, if an armed private militia seeks to parade and exercise in a public area, its members will be subject to arrest on a variety of laws, including disturbing-the-peace, firearms, or even riot statutes.

Many private militias are driven by the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment. Under this view, the Second Amendment grants an unconditional right to bear arms for Self-Defense and for rebellion against a tyrannical governmentwhen a government turns oppressive, private citizens have a duty to “insurrect,” or take up arms against it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a qualified rejection of the insurrection theory. According to the Court in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951), “[W]hatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a ‘right’ to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.” Scholars have interpreted this to mean that as long as the government provides for free elections and trials by jury, private citizens have no right to take up arms against the government.

Some people have disagreed with the Supreme Court’s definition of tyranny. Many of these people label the state and federal governments as tyrannical based on issues such as taxes and government regulations. Others cite governments ponsored racial and ethnic Integration as driving forces in their campaign against the federal and state governments. Many of these critics have formed private militias designed to resist perceived government oppression.

Some private militias have formed their own government. The legal problems of these private militias are generally unrelated to military activities. Instead, any criminal charges usually arise from activities associated with their political beliefs. The Freemen of Montana is one such militia. This group denied the legitimacy of the federal government and created its own township called Justus. The Freemen established its own court system, posted bounties for the arrest of police officers and judges, and held seminars on how to challenge laws its members viewed as beyond the scope of the Constitution. According to neighbors, the group also established its own common-law court system and built its own jail for the imprisonment of trespassers and government workers, or “public hirelings.”

In the 1990s, the Freemen came to the attention of federal prosecutors after members of the group allegedly wrote worthless checks and money orders to pay taxes and to defraud banks and credit card companies. One Freeman had also allegedly threatened a federal judge, and some had allegedly refused to pay taxes for at least a decade.

In March 1996, law enforcement officials obtained warrants for the arrest of many of the Freemen. However, remembering the violence that occurred when officials attempted to serve arrest warrants on another armed group in Waco, Texas, in 1993, law enforcement authorities did not invade the Freemen’s 960-acre ranch in Jordan, Montana. Although the Freemen constituted an armed challenge to all government authority, its beliefs and its military activities were not illegal, and most of its members were charged with nonviolent crimes, such as Fraud and related conspiracy. Two men were also charged with threatening public officials. In addition, several Freemen faced charges of criminal syndicalism, which is the advocacy of violence for political goals.

Amar, Akhil Reed. 2002. “Second Thoughts.” Law and Contemporary Problems 65 (spring).

Barry, Monica Sue. 1996. “Stockpiling Weapons: Can Private Militias Receive Protection under the First and Second Amendments?” Thomas Jefferson Law Review 18 (spring).

Hardaway, Robert, Elizabeth Gormley, and Bryan Taylor. 2002. “The Inconvenient Militia Clause of the Second Amendment: Why the Supreme Court Declines to Resolve the Debate over the Right to Bear Arms.” St. John’s Journal of Legal Commentary 16 (winter).

Dennis v. United States.

Several decades later, the Supreme Court ignored the contradictory language in Presser and cemented a limited reading of the Second Amendment. In United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S. Ct. 816, 83 L. Ed. 1206 (1939), defendants Jack Miller and Frank Layton were charged in federal court with unlawful transportation of firearms in violation of certain sections of the National Firearms Act of June 26, 1934 (ch. 757, 48 Stat. 12361240 [26 U.S.C.A. 1132 et seq.]). Specifically, Miller and Layton had transported shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, without the registration required under the act.

The district court dismissed the indictment, holding that the act violated the Second Amendment. The United States appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the decision and sent the case back to the trial court. The Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment was fashioned “to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of militia forces.”

The Miller opinion confirmed the restrictive language of Presser and solidified a narrow reading of the Second Amendment. According to the Court in Miller, the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to own a firearm unless the possession or use of the firearm has “a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

The legislative measures that inspire most Second Amendment discussions are Gun Control laws. Since the mid-nineteenth century, state legislatures have been passing laws that infringe a perceived right to bear arms. Congress has also asserted the power to regulate firearms. No law regulating firearms has ever been struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Historically, the academic community has largely ignored the Second Amendment. However, gun control laws have turned many laypersons into scholars of the Second Amendment’s history. The arguments for a broader interpretation are many and varied. Most center on the Original Intent of the Framers. Some emphasize that the Second Amendment should be interpreted as granting an unconditional personal right to bear arms for defensive and sporting purposes. Others adhere to an insurrection theory, under which the Second Amendment not only grants the personal right to bear arms, it gives citizens the right to rebel against a government perceived as tyrannical.

In response to these arguments, supporters of the prevailing Second Amendment interpretation maintain that any right to bear arms should be secondary to concerns for public safety. They also point out that other provisions in the Constitution grant power to Congress to quell insurrections, thus contradicting the insurrection theory. Lastly, they argue that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with a changing society and that the destructive capability of semiautomatic and automatic firearms was not envisioned by the Framers.

In response to the last argument, critics maintain that because such firearms exist, it should be legal to use them against violent criminals who are themselves wielding such weapons.

In the 2000s, federal courts continue to revisit the scope and detail of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In particular federal courts have recast much of the debate as one over whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective” right or an “individual” right to bear arms. If the Second Amendment protects only a collective right, then only states would have the power to bring a legal action to enforce it and only for the purpose of maintaining a “well-regulated militia.” If the Second Amendment protects only an individual right to bear arms, then only individuals could bring suit to challenge gun-control laws that curb their liberty to buy, sell, own, or possess firearms and other guns.

Not surprisingly, courts are conflicted over how to resolve this debate. In United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the original intent of the Founding Fathers supported an individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, while the Ninth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion in Nordyke v. King, 319 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir. 2003). Although no court has concluded that the original intent underlying the Second Amendment supports a claim for both an individual- and a collective rights based interpretation of the right to bear arms, the compelling historical arguments marshaled on both sides of the debate would suggest that another court faced with the same debate may reach such a conclusion.

Amar, Akhil Reed. 1992. “The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.” Yale Law Journal 101 (April).

Becker, Edward R. 1997. “The Second Amendment and Other Federal Constitutional Rights of the Private Militia.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

Bogus, Carl T., ed. 2000. The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms. New York: New Press.

Dolan, Edward F., and Margaret M. Scariano. 1994. Guns in the United States. New York: Watts.

Dunlap, Charles J., Jr. 1995. “Revolt of the Masses: Armed Civilians and the Insurrectionary Theory of the Second Amendment.” Tennessee Law Review 62 (spring).

Hanson, Freya Ottem. 1998. The Second Amendment: The Right to Own Guns. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow.

Hook, Donald D. 1992. Gun Control: The Continuing Debate. Washington, D.C.: Second Amendment Foundation.

Hoppin, Jason. 2003. “Ninth Circuit Upholds Controversial Ruling on Second Amendment.” Legal Intelligencer (May 8).

. 2003. “Second Amendment Fight Steals Show in Gun Ban Case: Panel Enters Fray over Individual Rights.” San Francisco Recorder (February 19).

McAffee, Thomas B. 1997. “Constitutional Limits on Regulating Private Militia Groups.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

Gun Control.

See more here:

Second Amendment legal definition of Second Amendment

Second Amendment Sisters: self defence is a basic human …

Lets talk about open carrying People who claim to belong to the open carry movement have been shocking the public for the recent few years by openly carrying firearms in restaurants or parks. Such pictures evoked a discussion about weak state laws which, despite certain regulations, allow for such behavior. The movement members believe that [Read more]

Read more:

Second Amendment Sisters: self defence is a basic human …

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

A very strange thing has happened since last weekends dreadful violence in Charlottesville. White supremacists used virtually every form of weapon except guns, yet somehow the Second Amendment is now under fire. Even worse, those who lawfully exercise the right to keep and bear arms now have fewer defenders when they also choose to speak.

It started with Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. In remarks that were oddly enough edited out of a New York Times article, McAuliffe claimed that 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. He further asserted that militia members had better equipment than our state police. He also said that white supremacists had weapons stashed around the city.

The Virginia state police disputed the governors claims, stating that theyd specifically looked for weapons stashes and no weapons were located. Further, they assured the public that they were not outgunned by militias. A spokesperson said the police were equipped with more-than-adequate specialized tactical and protective gear for the purpose of fulfilling their duties to protect the people present at the protests.

No matter. Claims that gun-toting militia members had somehow chilled free speech rocketed around the Web. Yet who, exactly, was deterred from speaking last weekend? Not only were people speaking, they were shrieking, chanting, yelling, and arguing. Few were deterred even from brawling.

Then, yesterday, a more significant shoe dropped. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American Civil Liberties Union will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms. In other words, the groups anti-gun stance is now directly influencing its First Amendment advocacy. Its executive director, Anthony Romero, told the Journal that the decision was in keeping with a 2015 policy adopted by the ACLUs national board in support of reasonable firearm regulation.

For all its flaws and inconsistencies in other areas, the ACLU had been one of the last well-resourced national legal organizations that were truly non-partisan in defending First Amendment freedoms such as the right to march and speak in Charlottesville. Indeed, a local ACLU chapter had defended the alt-rights liberties at that very protest. But now the ACLUs message was clear: lawfully exercise Second Amendment rights, and well turn our backs on your First Amendment freedoms.

The law already prohibits true threats, and there are an array of legal restrictions on the place and manner of bearing arms depending on the jurisdiction and location. Under existing precedent, groups that engage in threats or violate local firearms laws face severe legal consequences. The ACLUs position, however, is that it will not represent a category of organizations that are completely compliant with the applicable laws.

The ACLU is a private organization, and it has complete discretion to choose its clients, but its action reveals the extent to which arguments about civil liberties are becoming dangerously partisan and short-sighted. The ACLU has enjoyed an enormous surge in membership and donations since itpositioned itself as the law firm of the #Resistance, but a number of these new members are completely ignorant of the organizations traditional First Amendment work and were furious when they found out the ACLUs role in protecting the alt-rights constitutional rights.

Thus, yet another negative result of last weekends deadly violence is that both the First and Second Amendments are under increasing cultural pressure. Rather than focus on the actual violence that caused so much pain and harm last weekend, activists are renewing calls for so-called hate-speech restrictions, and theyre increasing demands for restrictions on the right to bear arms. The ACLU is a key pressure point. Rights that dont enjoy a robust defense are not rights at all. The Constitution is not a self-executing document.

At this point, the gun-rights debate is almost beyond the reach of facts. A weekend that was notable mainly for an act of vehicular terror has become a pretext for discouraging the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Sadly, our First Amendment debates are racing in the same direction. All too many Americans seek the power to suppress and shame more than they cultivate the ability to rebut and persuade. Alt-right drivel isnt a threat to the constitutional experiment. A culture that values censorship over debate, however, is.

And lest we think these categories are easy, and that its possible to suppress the rights of the worst people without touching the civil liberties of the mainstream, consider this. I used to work at an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. Its deemed a hate group in large part because it holds to an orthodox Christian view of sexual morality and gender identity. I hold those same views. Im also a concealed-carry permit holder. My wife and I carry a weapon virtually all the time because of threats, ironically enough, from the alt-right. Should the ACLU defend my right to speak?

Sadly, there are many Americans who would say no. They hate my viewpoint too much. They hate guns too much. The allure of power and control is too strong. They see little value in dissent, especially on the most sensitive cultural issues, and they utterly reject the concept of an armed citizenry. Yet even terrible crimes shouldnt cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.

Our constitutional republic and our culture of free speech have endured and prospered in the worst of attacks, events far worse than even the dreadful crimes in Charlottesville. It suffers, however, in the face of cultural retreat and surrender. The alt-right is too pathetic to warrant the slightest compromise. Yet thats exactly what the ACLU did, and short-sighted Americans applauded.

The alt-right hates American traditions and American liberties. Why grant it the slightest influence over American life?

READ MORE: Everything Wrong with the Gun Debate in One Tweet Where the Public Stands on Gun Issues A New Study about Guns & Children

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Read the original:

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

Charlottesville, militias and the Second Amendment – NY Daily News – New York Daily News

{%mLT-F&]?V!~x{Y_y-z2:y:*8}u. E6dGavan*F sqA.eLFm EJbW80|El5g9S”c|YM5 ‘M?`KuQh5~*GX/5$i,kn {“NR-WdEFk{Cq1e.QL.hOMtjS4`K5&]wN5MxS5MBVYC[||2j(Q,~`):FyBe1B|6fF{-$3|XaKg>8d+$U_1[sesP3W)[b’^o5]|]St?VSjgBZ0uRl7L7kpo7:’u=TWQEN’ P.}Cw~rc29V|Qb~HIVjw4zwYCT?k I` A}X{LU32@w|*7LHeHHW4#KN~ Hhsnprn 0Cwzu/_T^1i NFcB>z0]_yr>Z94JxrQ{W1Q%~j8?+?b.cL5G{SAO.Q+u>KAasUHE0ZfF8Ya:1.gBm_62f6EMs3Cg?owS=_up:? AD-4m8kGP-~{,f’=5}PKj >o^~`=khu?$ 3o`w03UAu436>X;#: .8 m~y.3$M $~CYvc]1jvsoLq}(H=C1>NK7 5h~{a*inB~kM0S& NV;|.HgSl:J:J?EGk{gEW&k $uP]_ ]kj1vJ&`V9XiVyG.J+90CDJCk]sqPTpo`”.`Y_{{yo^K6k6z7e$4!”,”‘8Nsv1 {X3wS7YOl0wqmdMc&!Mw6_ I|AB6_;v4, RW`=ND|>rO,N~?OD.”&Ytx_’ 6ID=(eeAE!9kS!}nnM74qnJYs’B|i-3{~c;iB5:Rb-e8IwMo>y&>v4~ gu+%qn&;cB7XLB.g4Ns{RhPGrZ!_’ROZRFE9chg}4G {nR`(mJ|1Ux)zu^#)@XJ=?.+5Yn”B^lG}[HxN9~wc|gy9ByvyvZTL&b6IX^J50/#?vR$:%&bFq/$a{RvtTGB=Q^|,RZ=IsXxglT@UHu]Z4B.p~FjF98hu%TyF mJjj1n*=D lsm`{5D{w];Z}bX:I_q?1wH$;Au uyhtWDH,|>=xNWM)?j{-^9gaX9Av8y2%_Is!as2Yswp2o*1md_e}|L^0E)S.k”.

Second Amendment | Wyoming County Free Press – Wyoming County Free Press

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins response to the Union-Sun & Journal’s recent editorial (Aug. 11):

My bill would restore New Yorkers Second Amendment rights and doesnt supersede states rights.

I do believe in States’ rights, the need for local control and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing state rights. However, I want your readers to know my steadfast belief that states like New York should not have the ability to take away the Constitutional rights of their citizens. Under no circumstances should these basic rights be denied, and federal action is warranted in a situation where a state is infringing on the rights of any American.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the Founding Fathers produced a document with a clear vision regarding Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted one way, and that is it guarantees that Americans have the right to own a firearm.

My proposed legislation, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), has sparked a needed conversation about the Second Amendment rights granted to Americans in the Constitution. In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomos Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act infringed upon the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers by instituting strict rifle and shotgun regulations. As you pointed out, these regulations were put in place purely for political purposes.

SAGA focuses specifically on protecting Second Amendment rights, and in no way is taking away the rights of states. When a state crosses the line and starts to implement regulations that are in stark contrast to the basic rights given to Americans, action needs to be taken. That is exactly why I am proposing my law to rein in the unconstitutional policies that Cuomo forced into law.

Cuomo overstepped with the SAFE Act, and my proposal to repeal much of the law has had a great deal of support. SAGA isnt hypocritical; it is a sincere effort to bring back the freedoms given to New Yorkers by our Constitution when it comes to owning a firearm. Law abiding citizens should not be punished because of onerous and unconstitutional state regulations.

It is my duty as an elected representative to make sure my constituents are protected, and that includes protecting the basic rights granted to them in the Constitution. The SAFE Act only curbed the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers, instead of providing them with a safer place to live as promised by the governor.

The SAFE Act has done nothing to help our communities and has only taken away our freedoms. It is time we end this disastrous law for all New Yorkers and revert back to what the Founding Fathers intended for our nation.

See related: Collins proposes new measures for protecting Second Amendment rights

The rest is here:

Second Amendment | Wyoming County Free Press – Wyoming County Free Press

The Lessons Of Charlottesville: Speech And Guns – HuffPost

The events in Charlottesville have given rise to a lot of discussion about speech and guns. That is, to what extent do protesters who are otherwise exercising their First Amendment rights also have a right to carry assault weapons and other guns as part of their demonstrations? It turns out that this is a complicated and interesting question, for which there is no simple answer.

First, does the Second Amendment give demonstrators a constitutional right to carry their weapons in public? Although the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the right of private individuals to keep and bear arms, it has not gone much further in fleshing out the details of this right, and it has not yet considered whether the Second Amendment should be understood to guarantee individuals a right to open carry. If the Court were to hold that the Constitution guarantees individuals a right to walk down the street carrying assault weapons an outcome I think unlikely then that would go a long way to resolving the question. But that is not the law, and I rather doubt it will ever be the law, so we can move on to the next question.

Second, about half the states allow open carry and half prohibit it. Lets assume we are in a state that prohibits open carry. Assuming the Second Amendment does not guarantee such a right, the next question is whether the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to carry assault weapons or other guns as part of an otherwise lawful public demonstration. The best argument that could be made by the would-be gun carriers is that they are carrying their guns as a form of symbolic expression that is a central part of the message of their demonstration. The carrying of the assault weapons, they argue, is meant symbolically to communicate their commitment to their cause. The guns are, in effect, a part of their uniform.

Lets assume that this is credible. That is, lets assume that their purpose is not to threaten violence, but to convey the nature and depth of their beliefs. Symbolic speech is protected by the First Amendment. For example, burning an American flag as a sign of disrespect for the nation is constitutionally protected speech. That being so, is carrying an assault weapon when done for symbolic purposes also constitutionally protected speech? Interestingly, the answer is no.

The Supreme Court has held that symbolic speech is protected by the Constitution when the governments reason for prohibiting the action is to suppress the content of the speech. But if the governments reason for prohibiting the action has nothing at all to do with speech, and the law therefore has only an incidental effect on speech, then the law will almost always be deemed constitutional, even as applied to symbolic speech.

For example, if demonstrators march naked down a public street in order to protest anti-nudity laws, they can constitutionally be punished for violating the anti-nudity laws, which are not themselves directed at speech, even though their nudity in the protest is a form of symbolic speech. Similarly, if an individual urinates on a statue of Robert E. Lee in order to show his contempt for the Confederacy, he can constitutionally be punished for public urination, even though he did his act for expressive purposes.

This is well-settled law, and it would certainly apply to protesters who want to carry guns in violation of a state law that forbids open carry. Thus, in a state that forbids open carry, the demonstrators would not have a First Amendment right to carry their weapons, even if their reason for doing so was to convey a symbolic message.

Third, that brings us to the situation where the state allows open carry generally, but forbids it in demonstrations involving more than X number of people. The reason for this limitation is the states concern that, in large demonstrations, the risks presented by the presence of weapons is too great to permit. In this situation, the state is applying a special rule about open carry that is directed specifically at otherwise constitutionally-protected protests.

In this situation, the demonstrators will argue that this violates their rights under the First Amendment, because the only reason for denying them what otherwise would be the state-recognized right of open carry is that they are exercising their First Amendment rights. What happens here?

As a general rule, the government can regulate the time, place, and manner of speech in public places as long as it does so in a neutral manner and has a reasonable justification for doing so. For example, a city can forbid public demonstrations that might disrupt a school or hospital, it can ban the use of loudspeakers in a residential neighborhood at night, it can refuse to permit a demonstration that will unduly block traffic in rush hour, and so on. Thus, even if the desire to carry assault weapons as part of a demonstration is seen as a form of symbolic expression, such a restriction if applied neutrally to all protests would likely be constitutional.

Fourth, suppose the government allows open carry in public demonstrations, but only for some speakers and not others? For example, suppose it permits Black Lives Matter demonstrators to carry weapons, but not white supremacist demonstrators? Suppose the government argues, for example, that in the particular location, the presence of guns by white supremacist protesters would frighten citizens much more than the presence of guns by Black Lives Matter protesters.

Such a distinction would clearly violate the First Amendment, because the government must regulate speech in an even-handed manner, and cannot treat people conveying one constitutionally-protected message differently than people conveying another constitutionally-protected message, unless it has a truly compelling justification for the distinction a test that is next to impossible to meet. Thus, although it can constitutionally ban all guns in these demonstrations, it cannot constitutionally pick-and-choose which messages to favor and which to restrict, even if it has a reasonable justification for the distinction. Put simply, we do not trust government to make such judgments, because of the risk that, if given that power, government officials will manipulate speech to further their own political and ideological goals.

Fifth, suppose the protesters in a particular demonstration carry guns not just to express a symbolic message about the nature and strength of their views, but as a way to threaten others that if they criticize or mock them during the demonstration they will be shot. If the protesters literally told counter-demonstrators that it they criticize or mock them during the protest they will be shot, that would clearly constitute an express threat of violence that is not protected by the First Amendment. It is well-established that such true threats can be punished.

The question, then, is whether carrying assault weapons can in itself be understood to constitute such a threat. Is it sufficient that counter-demonstrators reasonably understand this as a true threat, do the speakers have to specifically intend this to be a true threat, are the speakers protected by the First Amendment unless they expressly utter a true threat? This remains an open question under the First Amendment. How, then, should we decide whether the carrying of assault weapons is just symbolic speech, whether it is done merely to deter violence against the protesters, or whether it is an implied true threat designed to intimidate others from exercising their own First Amendment rights to criticize or mock the protesters?

Sixth, to add to the confusion, suppose the protesters are openly carrying their guns not for their own self-protection, and not to unlawfully threaten others with violence, but allegedly to incite counter-protesters to be violent themselves. It is possible that the very presence of weapons would so infuriate counter-protesters that they would be incited to respond with violence, as intended by the demonstrators. Why might the demonstrators want this? Well, the outbreak of serious violence would certainly get them on the news, make them appear to be victims, and give their views lots of publicity and visibility.

So, if this was their actual reason for openly carrying the weapons, can they then be punished for inciting unlawful conduct by the counter-demonstrators? In this situation, the carrying of assault weapons would be like carrying especially offensive and infuriating signs for the purpose of inciting a riot. Can people who do that be punished consistent with the First Amendment? The Supreme Court held in 1969 in a case called Brandenburg v. Ohio, which involved a Klan rally, that even express incitement to violence can be punished only if it is specifically intended to cause violence and the violence is likely to happen imminently.

In theory, that could be the situation in highly-emotional protest situations, but even there the speakers (in this case, the protesters carrying assault weapons with the specific intent to incite a violent response) can be held accountable only if the police have done everything reasonably in their power to forestall the violence. That, of course, depends on the circumstances.

So, where does all this leave us? I hope Ive provided at least a bit of clarity, But I also hope Ive demonstrated why much of the commentary on the Charlottesville situation in terms of the issue of open carry and assault weapons has been inconsistent and confused. That is, in short, the state of the law.

Follow this link:

The Lessons Of Charlottesville: Speech And Guns – HuffPost

Bill Introduced in Congress that Would Ban NJ’s Gun Control Laws – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Bill Introduced in Congress that Would Ban NJ’s Gun Control Laws

New Jersey -(Ammoland.com)-Now this is a bill we can support The Second Amendment Guarantee Act, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), would ban most of NJ’s gun control laws.

Drafted for people living in states like New Jersey, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA) would prevent states from being able to ban any weapons that are legal under Federal Law. This legislation would protect the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers that were unjustly taken away by Andrew Cuomo, said Collins.

I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and have fought against all efforts to condemn these rights. I stand with the law-abiding citizens of this state that have been outraged by the SAFE Act and voice my commitment to roll back these regulations.

Though widely available and commonly owned throughout the country, northeastern states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York have banned the mere possession of many popular long guns. Though, it’s not clear what effect, if any, these state laws have had on violent crimes.

According to Collins, the bill would ban state or local governments from regulating, prohibiting, or requiring registration and licensing (that are any more restrictive under Federal law) for the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer, possession, or marketing of a rifle or shotgun. Additionally, rifle or shotgun includes any part of the weapon including any detachable magazine or ammunition feeding devise and any type of pistol grip or stock design.

With a law like that, NJ’s assault weapon and magazine bans would be toast. Furthermore, the entire permit system would likely be gone as well since it’s more restrictive than Federal law. This bill, plus Trump’s court appointments to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which takes appeals from NJ, should bring hope and optimism for gun owners in NJ seeking relief from the laws that have been imposed on us for decades.

If you’d like to be a part of stopping the madness of NJ’s gun control laws, join NJ2AS or become a Frontline donor. Remember, everyone who joins NJ2AS or donates $10 or more this month will automatically be entered into our August Giveaway. There’s no cavalry on the horizon, it’s just us, so join today and help make a difference in this state.

About the New Jersey Second Amendment Society:

New Jersey Second Amendment Society Our mission is to promote the free exercise of Second Amendment rights within the community and Legislature of New Jersey, to educate the community regarding the enjoyable, safe, and responsible use of firearms, and to engender a sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the members and their families. Visit: http://www.nj2as.com

Read this article:

Bill Introduced in Congress that Would Ban NJ’s Gun Control Laws – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

The Guns Won – Slate Magazine

Men patrol on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.*

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad rejected Charlottesville, Virginias attempt to relocate Saturdays white nationalist rally, he wrote that merely moving [the] demonstration to another park will not avoid a clash of ideologies between demonstrators and counter-protesters. He also acknowledged that a change in the location of the demonstration would not eliminate the need for members of the Citys law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services personnel to appear at Emancipation Park. Instead, it would necessitate having personnel present at two locations in the City.

As it turned out, the nightmare that unfolded on Saturday in this small college town involved a great deal more than an ideological clash and demanded far more police protection than was available. Dozens of white nationalists showed up toting semi-automatic weapons, as did some counter-protesters, making it all but impossible for police to intervene when violence erupted. In short order, peaceful protesters were forced to hide as armed rioters attacked one another with clubs, smoke bombs, and pepper spray.

Complaints abound that law enforcement officers looked on from the sidelines as the brutality quickly escalated into a crisis. The tragedy culminated in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of peaceful protesters.

Seen in isolation, Conrads order was grounded in solid First Amendment doctrine: Charlottesville could not, he ruled, relocate the racist demonstrators based on the content of [their] speech. This is textbook law, but one is left to wonder whether it takes into account armed white supremacists invading a city with promises of confrontation. Conrads decision seems to have been issued in a vacuum, one in which Second Amendment open-carry rights either swallowed First Amendment doctrine altogether or were simply wished away, for after-the-fact analysis. The judge failed to answer the central question: When demonstrators plan to carry guns and cause fights, does the government have a compelling interest in regulating their expressive conduct more carefully than itd be able to otherwise? This is not any one judges fault. It is a failure of our First Amendment jurisprudence to reckon with our Second Amendment reality.

Charlottesville proves that this issue is hardly theoretical anymore. In his order, Conrad chose to exclude from his First Amendment analysis the very strong possibility that demonstrators would carry weapons. (The city police warned the court that hundreds of protesters would bring firearms and that militia members would be in attendance.) But, ironically, by protecting the free speech rights of the white supremacists, Conrad may have ultimately suppressed speech by ensuring an armed confrontation between the neo-Nazis and the counter-protesters would break out and that police would be powerless to stop it until blood was spilled. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe later claimed that the militia members had better equipment than our State Policeand that their weapons prevented law enforcement from imposing order and protecting peaceful protesters. While we dont yet know the full details of what happened or how, the governors statement suggested that the presence of large quantities of lethal guns had in fact effectively silenced the many people whod assembled to peacefully express their opposition to racism.

This conflict between the right to bear arms and the right to free speech is nothing new, but the sudden surge in white nationalist activism has made it painfully obvious that, in the public square, the right to bear arms tends to trump the right to free speech. Confederate sympathizers are bringing weapons of war to their demonstrationsjust last month, in fact, Ku Klux Klansmen carried guns to a protest in an adjacent Charlottesville park. Forty-five states, including Virginia, allow some form of open carry. So long as armed demonstrators comply with their permits and do not openly threaten anyone, their protests are perfectly legal.

Rallies with guns cannot be treated, for First Amendment purposes, in the same fashion as rallies with no guns.

But of course, the presence of a gun itself dramatically heightens the odds that somebody is going to get shot. And, as Saturday proved, the presence of many guns, particularly the sort that can kill many people in very little time, may dissuade law enforcement from stepping in when a protest gets out of hand. The result is an alarming form of censorship: Nonviolent demonstrators lose their right to assemble and express their ideas because the police are too apprehensive to shield them from violence. The right to bear arms overrides the right to free speech. And when protesters dress like militia members and the police are confused about who is with whom, chaos is inevitable.

This problem is especially acute in public areas like Charlottesvilles Emancipation Park and the surrounding streets and walkways. The Supreme Court recently reminded us that parks and sidewalks occupy a special position in terms of First Amendment protection because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate. These traditional public fora have, according to the court, immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions.

So the government doesnt get to bar neo-Nazis from marching in a park just because theyre neo-Nazis. But what about neo-Nazis who are toting around assault weapons? As the world saw on Saturday, armed agitators can quickly turn a public forum into a public brawl and hijack peaceful assembly. Current First Amendment doctrine praises the open debate that is supposed to occur in our streets and parks. But it is poorly equipped to help courts apply the law when bullets may accompany the free exchange of ideas.

The seminal case protecting the rights of white nationalists to march in the streets is National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not bar neo-Nazis from marching through a Jewish neighborhood in Illinois.* Most civil libertarians (us included) believe the court got the Skokie case right. But its increasingly clear that Skokie cant always help courts figure out how to deal with a post-Heller, poststand your ground white nationalist protest. Whatever the courts were attempting to protect in the Skokie case wasnt protected in Charlottesville. The marchers in Skokie didnt promise to bring guns and armed militias to protect themselves.

Moreover, the threat posed by Nazis marching in Illinois, while symbolic and terrifying, especially in a town of Holocaust survivors, was not the threat that we are coming to your town with the power to kill you. Second Amendment enthusiasts will tell you that they dont intend to deliver any message of this sort when they parade with semi-automatic weapons. Their message is merely that guns are outstanding. But one of the lessons of Charlottesville 2017 is that sometimes, when 500 people promise to come to a protest with guns to hurt people they want to see extinguished, they plan to do just that.

Join Dahlia Lithwick and her stable of standout guests for a discussion about the high court and the countrys most important cases.

Its become amply clear that open carry in Charlottesville led to little discussion and lots of fighting. Indeed, open carry seemed to guarantee that fewer people could speak and that the police had no choice but to wait until there was actual bleeding to call off the rally. If bringing guns to a speech event pushes the line for incitement past the point where people have gone mad, its time to have another look at the intersection of speech and open carry.

Rallies with guns cannot be treated, for First Amendment purposes, in the same fashion as rallies with no guns. When the police are literally too afraid of armed protesters to stop a melee, First Amendment values are diminished; discussion is supplanted by disorder and even death, and conversations about time, place, and manner seem antiquated and trite. In his analysis, Conrad treated todays white nationalists like the neo-Nazis who planned to march through Skokie.* That was a mistake. Ideas may not be able to hurt us, but assault weapons surely can. Thats why the white supremacists who marched through Charlottesville this weekend carried guns instead of Pokmon cards.Its perfectly reasonable for courts to consider the speech-suppressing potential of guns when evaluating a citys efforts to keep the peace. And it will be perfectly lethal if they fail to take the Second Amendment reality into account, as they reflect upon the values we seek to protect with the First.

*Correction, Aug. 14, 2017: This post originally misstated that Klansmen marched in Skokie, Illinois. The marchers were neo-Nazis. (Return.)

*Update, Aug. 17, 2017: The caption on the photo of this piece has been updated.

Original post:

The Guns Won – Slate Magazine

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

A very strange thing has happened since last weekends dreadful violence in Charlottesville. White supremacists used virtually every form of weapon except guns, yet somehow the Second Amendment is now under fire. Even worse, those who lawfully exercise the right to keep and bear arms now have fewer defenders when they also choose to speak.

It started with Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. In remarks that were oddly enough edited out of a New York Times article, McAuliffe claimed that 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. He further asserted that militia members had better equipment than our state police. He also said that white supremacists had weapons stashed around the city.

The Virginia state police disputed the governors claims, stating that theyd specifically looked for weapons stashes and no weapons were located. Further, they assured the public that they were not outgunned by militias. A spokesperson said the police were equipped with more-than-adequate specialized tactical and protective gear for the purpose of fulfilling their duties to protect the people present at the protests.

No matter. Claims that gun-toting militia members had somehow chilled free speech rocketed around the Web. Yet who, exactly, was deterred from speaking last weekend? Not only were people speaking, they were shrieking, chanting, yelling, and arguing. Few were deterred even from brawling.

Then, yesterday, a more significant shoe dropped. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American Civil Liberties Union will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms. In other words, the groups anti-gun stance is now directly influencing its First Amendment advocacy. Its executive director, Anthony Romero, told the Journal that the decision was in keeping with a 2015 policy adopted by the ACLUs national board in support of reasonable firearm regulation.

For all its flaws and inconsistencies in other areas, the ACLU had been one of the last well-resourced national legal organizations that were truly non-partisan in defending First Amendment freedoms such as the right to march and speak in Charlottesville. Indeed, a local ACLU chapter had defended the alt-rights liberties at that very protest. But now the ACLUs message was clear: lawfully exercise Second Amendment rights, and well turn our backs on your First Amendment freedoms.

The law already prohibits true threats, and there are an array of legal restrictions on the place and manner of bearing arms depending on the jurisdiction and location. Under existing precedent, groups that engage in threats or violate local firearms laws face severe legal consequences. The ACLUs position, however, is that it will not represent a category of organizations that are completely compliant with the applicable laws.

The ACLU is a private organization, and it has complete discretion to choose its clients, but its action reveals the extent to which arguments about civil liberties are becoming dangerously partisan and short-sighted. The ACLU has enjoyed an enormous surge in membership and donations since itpositioned itself as the law firm of the #Resistance, but a number of these new members are completely ignorant of the organizations traditional First Amendment work and were furious when they found out the ACLUs role in protecting the alt-rights constitutional rights.

Thus, yet another negative result of last weekends deadly violence is that both the First and Second Amendments are under increasing cultural pressure. Rather than focus on the actual violence that caused so much pain and harm last weekend, activists are renewing calls for so-called hate-speech restrictions, and theyre increasing demands for restrictions on the right to bear arms. The ACLU is a key pressure point. Rights that dont enjoy a robust defense are not rights at all. The Constitution is not a self-executing document.

At this point, the gun-rights debate is almost beyond the reach of facts. A weekend that was notable mainly for an act of vehicular terror has become a pretext for discouraging the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Sadly, our First Amendment debates are racing in the same direction. All too many Americans seek the power to suppress and shame more than they cultivate the ability to rebut and persuade. Alt-right drivel isnt a threat to the constitutional experiment. A culture that values censorship over debate, however, is.

And lest we think these categories are easy, and that its possible to suppress the rights of the worst people without touching the civil liberties of the mainstream, consider this. I used to work at an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. Its deemed a hate group in large part because it holds to an orthodox Christian view of sexual morality and gender identity. I hold those same views. Im also a concealed-carry permit holder. My wife and I carry a weapon virtually all the time because of threats, ironically enough, from the alt-right. Should the ACLU defend my right to speak?

Sadly, there are many Americans who would say no. They hate my viewpoint too much. They hate guns too much. The allure of power and control is too strong. They see little value in dissent, especially on the most sensitive cultural issues, and they utterly reject the concept of an armed citizenry. Yet even terrible crimes shouldnt cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.

Our constitutional republic and our culture of free speech have endured and prospered in the worst of attacks, events far worse than even the dreadful crimes in Charlottesville. It suffers, however, in the face of cultural retreat and surrender. The alt-right is too pathetic to warrant the slightest compromise. Yet thats exactly what the ACLU did, and short-sighted Americans applauded.

The alt-right hates American traditions and American liberties. Why grant it the slightest influence over American life?

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Originally posted here:

After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review


12345...102030...