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The NRA-ILA released this information today:
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
AFFIRMS THE SECOND AMENDMENT
AS AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT
"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 clearest and most comprehensive statement ever made by the Executive Branch on the true meaning of the Second Amendment was recently released by the Justice Department. In a memorandum posted on their web site December 17, 2004, the Justice Department concludes without reservation that "the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to persons serving in organized militia units."

The opinion does not address the constitutionality of particular laws placing limits on the possession, carrying, or use of firearms. It does note that certain classes of people (felons, those addicted to drugs or alcohol) can be prohibited from owning firearms and that certain types of firearms can be regulated.

This memo, for its excellent research, adds much to Second Amendment scholarship. But its major impact will be on the courts ? and the Department itself.

The memo calls current judicial opinions an "unsettled legal landscape," where no theory holds firm. Stephen Halbrook, respected Second Amendment litigator and historian, says of the memorandum, "It is a highly credible message to the courts, for it exhibits a depth of understanding about the Second Amendment that few jurists have ever attained, and should be persuasive in future decisions."

The Department of Justice defends federal firearms laws. When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment, it has flip-flopped. According to Mr. Halbrook, this monumental opinion "promises to keep the Department on the high road, for it is irrefutable in its analysis and its history." For gun owners now, and in the future, this is great news.
 

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Now we need to get the state, counties, and cities to live up to the 2nd. It would be really cool if when San francisco tries to pass a no gun law that they go head to head with the federal government defending the right to have one. Gentlemen, and ladies, the plot thickens!
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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There has never been a SCOTUS ruling applying the 2nd to the states so regardless how the Feds view RKBA it would be the Founders intent to leave that up to the states subject to state constitutions.

Now a little judicial activism at SCOTUS could result in a different interpretation. Otherwise it is perfectly legitimate for a state to ban guns.
 

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Educate me Custer, Why has the SCOTUS defended the 1st. Ammendment and applied it to all individuals and not let the states pre-empt it? Why not the 2nd. Ammendment also, especially as the FEDS have re-affirmed it as an individual right? What makes one Ammendment trump another? I'm honestly not being contrary, I'd really like to know.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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As originally written, the BOR was not intended to apply to the states. It was a guarantee of rights that could not be infringed by the Feds only.

The states could have banned guns, banned religion, banned free speech or any of them, including specifying a state religion had they so desired. As a practical matter, most state constitutions have similar protections but they do differ in how written and interpreted.

After the Civil War, the 14th amendment was passed. The intent, IMHO was to prevent states from taking away citizenship rights of the newly freed slaves but in many ways, the amendment was dormant.

In the 20th century, SCOTUS started to get cases brought against the states, starting with civil rights issues and created a concept called "incorporation" in order to apply BOR protections against the states for the first time. Pretty soon free speech, religion and ciminal rights (like Miranda) protections came up and were selectively incorporated.

Not everything in the BOR has been incorporated and interestingly some things not even in there have been found such as "privacy".

Why not the second? I think the advocacy groups that support those parts of the BOR have been very effective and very strategic in taking cases to court that create and build that doctrine on their behalf.

They also have a moral high ground, if you will, that engenders more social outrage than the rights to own a gun. Plus, I think gun owners have been passive, their organizations have done reasonably well in legislation but not well in the courts.

Clearly the future appointments to SCOTUS will determine if they will ever treat the second like other parts of the BOR.
 

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Excellent, taught me more on implementation of the BOR than I ever knew. It looks like there is light coming through the crack in the door to get 2nd. on an equal footing. What with Bush being re-elceted and SCOTUS going through a major overhaul in the next 4 years we can only hope for 2-4 new appointees that will be in agreement with 2nd. Ammendment principles.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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I am not that confident about it.

The irony is that conservatives do not favor judicial activists, generally support state's rights and hate Federal intrusion.

It will take activists judges who don't mind stepping on the toes of the states.

Ironically, the left has the same problem. They support medicinal pot, generally support an intrusive Federal government but in this case have to support states rights.

W have all painted ourselves into a corner.
 

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So it looks to me like the most effective way we, as 2nd. Ammendment advocates can further our agenda is to work at the local, city, county and state level. And now that you mention it, this seems where the bulk of the Anti-gun assault is directed; at the local level rather than national. IE, never mind a national assault rifle ban go for the city or state ban. As the opposition shifts, then we must shift too. Just makes good tactical sense.
 

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Master Endmill Breaker
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I noticed that the VPC, Million Moron March, the Brady Bunch, and the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence have not updated their websites with this information. These sites were updated within 2 hours after the announcement about the shootings in Wisconsin.

I have e-mailed the link and text from the D.O.J. decision 50 times to each of these "organizations" every day for the past few days, and still get no response or see an update to the sites.
 

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I would assume that it's something they would just as soon not have the rank and file anti-gunner be aware off. As in "Lets lobby to ban all guns from private ownership! Oh and by the way, the Federal government has just reaffirmed the rights of all citizens to have and keep guns. The 2nd. Ammendment means exactly what is says."
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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It is widely believed that the Constitution is "flexible" and there is a small kernel of truth in that assertion.

However, I fear that the way SCOTUS will get out of this leqal deadend is to come up with a very clever legal assessment that simply means something like "times have changed" or the Founders never comtemplated ____________.

The trendy legal literature has been filled with this kind of malarkey for years and many judges like to make their legal mark and the way to do that is to be on the cutting edge.
 

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These people must have never read a dictionary. They say the word militia means the military. But militia's are not the military, they are made up of every day people. The Revolutionary war was not won by the Regular Army. It was won by militias, often times led by ministers. If I can find the link, I'll post it.
 
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