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Federal Appeals Court Kills DC Gun Ban

Appellants contest the district courtís dismissal of their complaint alleging that the District of Columbiaís gun control laws violate their Second Amendment rights. The court held that the Second Amendment (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) does not bestow any rights on individuals except, perhaps, when an individual serves in an organized militia such as todayís National Guard. We reverse.

Read it all here. I especially like the dissection of the collective rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and the use of the tenth for comparison in establishing what the founders meant by "the people".

In determining whether the Second Amendmentís guarantee is an individual one, or some sort of collective right, the most important word is the one the drafters chose to describe the holders of the right - "the people." That term is found in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. It has never been doubted that these provisions were designed to protect the interests of individuals against government intrusion, interference, or usurpation. We also note that the Tenth Amendment - "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" - indicates that the authors of the Bill of Rights were perfectly capable of distinguishing between "the people," on the one hand, and "the states," on the other.

This will be a very big story. How much lasting effect it will have is a very different question.


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