Thursday, June 26, 2008

Because 'the people' means the people

Of all the Constitutional issues American liberals have fought over, the Second Amendment is one I shake my head over most. The left celebrates Supreme Court decisions that seemingly invent rights out of thin air, the Roe decision for example, whereas the Second Amendment baffles them in it's simplicity.

Never let original intent or original content for that matter, get in the way of 'doing something' to make everyone 'feel safe'.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;

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.

Now, liberal democrats will try to tell you the prefatory clause of the amendment, 'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,' means the enacting clause, 'the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed' ties the right to own a gun to service in a government militia. That is a load of manure.

In today's ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority and put an end to this line of liberal thinking. Read the whole decision, I dare you, I couldn't get past the part in the dissent where Justice Breyer talks about the phrase "bear Arms' could only be interpreted in a military manner or some such nonsense. But here is Scalia;

Relationship between Prefatory Clause and
Operative Clause

We reach the question, then: Does the preface fit with
an operative clause that creates an individual right to
keep and bear arms? It fits perfectly, once one knows the
history that the founding generation knew and that we
have described above. That history showed that the way
tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the ablebodied
men was not by banning the militia but simply by
taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or
standing army to suppress political opponents. This is
what had occurred in England that prompted codification
of the right to have arms in the English Bill of Rights.
The debate with respect to the right to keep and bear
arms, as with other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, was
not over whether it was desirable (all agreed that it was)
but over whether it needed to be codified in the Constitution.
During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that
the federal government would disarm the people in order
to impose rule through a standing army or select militia
was pervasive in Antifederalist rhetoric.

He sums it up quite well.

"We hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense,"

The Second Amendment, Scalia said, "surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."
When I talk to anti gun folks, I love the way 'the people' in every other right found in the Constitution means just that, 'the People', but when it comes to those evil firearms, 'the People' suddenly turns into the 'National Guard'.

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