21 April 2005

ACLU BlogBurst 4/20/05

This week's topic is the ACLU's position on the 2nd Amendment. So I guess the proper way to start is by stating their position. "The ACLU agrees with the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation of the Second Amendment [as set forth in the 1939 case, U.S. v. Miller] that the individual's right to bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected. Therefore, there is no constitutional impediment to the regulation of firearms." --Policy #47 What they are clinging to is the introductory sentence in the 2nd Amendment. The Amendment 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 ACLU and the rest of the gun control lobby lean heavily on the introductory phrase thus creating the false assumption that it is intended to only apply to a State Regulated Militia. And they use United States v Miller as their basis. However, Miller actually states, "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense."(source) This decision does not address the State's rights issue or the individual rights issue. It only addresses the gun in question. "Miller grew out of a 1938 prosecution of two bootleggers (Jack Miller and Frank Layton) for violating the National Firearms Act by possessing a sawed-off shotgun without having paid the required federal tax. The federal district court dismissed the indictment on the grounds that the National Firearms Act violated the Second Amendment. Freed, Miller and Layton promptly absconded, and thus only the government’s side was heard when the case was argued before the Supreme Court."(source) "If Miller were the only source of information about the Second Amendment, the individual right vs. Government right argument might be impossible to resolve conclusively. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has addressed the Second Amendment in thirty-one other cases--although most of these cases appear to have escaped the attention of commentators on both sides of the issue. This article ends the bipartisan scholarly neglect of the Supreme Court’s writings on the Second Amendment."(source) One could actually argue that Miller never addresses the whole issue because it heard arguments only from one side. And inconclusive on it's face because it only addresses the type of weapon in relation to it's relevance to a militia, leaving the matter open and vague. Of the 31 cases discussed in the document, 24 cases support individual rights, 5 ambiguous, 1 no, and 1 no," but not necessarily inconsistent with an individual right."(source) So our friends over at the ACLU wish to hold on to one little case that was a somewhat of a victory because it was too vague to get a real meaning out of it. A case that was argued by only one side of the issue. But in typical fashion, the ACLU will over-state any victory into some ground breaking reason to challenge everything involving a similar situation. Even if it is inconclusive. Help Put A Stop To The Most Dangerous Organization In America. We are trying to organize a march on all of the ACLU state offices in all of the 50 states. To help in this matter, we are trying to raise money to pay for advertising in our nation's newspapers promoting the march. You can help. Visit Bulldoze The ACLU online store and buy a bumper sticker or t-shirt. All of the proceeds will be going into advertising for this march. Thank You.


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