Wednesday, June 30, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms 2nd Amendment Rights

Article first published as U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms 2nd Amendment Rights on Blogcritics.

Gun owners across the nation’s ownership rights were reaffirmed by the nation's highest court on Monday, June 28. This came about when the Supreme Court Justices in a 5-4 decision ruled in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, which challenged Chicago’s handgun ban, by stating that the 2nd Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel co-sponsored an amicus brief by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in the McDonald lawsuit by Chicago community activist Otis McDonald challenging Chicago’s handgun ban. The amicus brief was signed by 38 attorney generals who supported a nationwide right to bear arms.

The ruling will have little effect on states such as Arkansas whose state constitution includes a provision protecting their “constitutional right to keep and bear arms within their state.” The Supreme Court made it clear that their ruling does not strike down states’ ability to impose restrictions on gun ownership, but it does restrict the states from imposing an outright ban. One of the regulations that will not be affected is the concealed carry permits issued in the state of Arkansas.

Will their decision allow regulations that appear to be unreasonable to gun owners? It does not prevent such action, so it obviously would be something to be worked out in the courts when it occurs.

Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, each wrote a dissent noting that, unlike the Washington case, Monday's decision "could prove far more destructive — quite literally — to our nation's communities and to our constitutional structure."

With this ruling cities should be able to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists while respecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. How many states and cities that this decision will affect are unknown, but it proves to be a victory for the supporters of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

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