FICTION: Two very important U.S. Supreme Court cases decided within the last eight (8) years confirm our Second Amendment right to bear arms contrary to what the media and certain liberals believe. The first case is District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and the other case is McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010). I bring up these cases because the media and many uneducated individuals are still trying to argue that the Second Amendment was never meant to apply to you and me but they are wrong.
In the Heller case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the following:
- The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for the purpose of self-defense and that the ownership does not have to be connected to any militia or for military purposes.
- The majority also declared that an individual’s right to defend themselves is the key component of the Second Amendment.
- The Court also affirmed that a “well-regulated militia” was not referring to a state’s military forces. For example, the Texas National Guard is not considered a “militia.” The term militia had already been defined in a case dating back to 1939 which ruled that “all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense” are considered a militia. (United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)). So me and my ten friends who own firearms can create a militia as long as we are acting together for the common defense of society.
- This case also defined what the phrase “to bear arms” which means an individual wearing, bearing, or carrying about their person, inside their clothing, or in their pocket, a firearm for the purpose of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.
- The case also ruled that the District of Columbia’s ordinance that all firearms were required to be kept unloaded and disassembled or locked with a trigger lock within a person’s own home was unconstitutional.
- The Court also ruled that even though we have a right to bear arms, this right did not prevent States from imposing restrictions on gun ownership for convicted felons or the mentally ill.
- The Court also ruled that the right to bear arms does not mean we can carry a firearm wherever we want; rather, the States may impose regulations from firearms being inside of schools and other sensitive locations.
- Finally, the Court ruled that this right is not completely absolute which means reasonable restrictions can be enacted by individual States. For instance, some States impose a maximum number of bullets that can be in a magazine while other States require that you must be 21 years of age before you can even buy bullets which is absurd when you can enter the military and go to war at the age of 18. These types of restrictions are legal.
Now, the funny thing about the Heller case is that it dealt with the District of Columbia (D.C.) which is not a state. Thus, many legal minds and Attorney Generals from various States did not believe that the Heller decision applied to the individual States. This is where the second case comes into play.
In the McDonald case, decided in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Heller decision applied to the States when it ruled that the Second Amendment was fully applicable to all 50 States and that an individual’s right to defend themselves is the primary reason for the Second Amendment. The ruling held that no State may impose a ban on the possession of a firearm for self-defense in the home.
So, our highest Court in the land has spoken and even if you disagree with these decisions, understand that they are various laws and regulations on the books concerning firearms so there are protections in place. Some of these acts, which you can read on your own, are as follows:
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 (The primary purpose was to regulate the interstate commerce of firearms.);
- The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, a.k.a. Brady Law (Created federal background checks for purchasing firearms from gun dealers and it prohibited certain individuals from being able to purchase a handgun. It also imposed a waiting period before purchasing a handgun.);
- The National Firearms Act (Regulates certain weapons, such as machine guns, sound suppressors, explosive devices, and other deadly weapons.); and
- The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (Beefed up the Gun Control Act of 1968, banned machine guns from being owned by individuals unless registered under the National Firearms Act, and allowed for traveling between States with a firearm.).
As always, if you have any questions about your gun rights, do not hesitate to contact me at (940) 535-5555, visit DodsonLegal.com to learn more.