March 27, 2008
Gun Ownership and the Protection of Individual Rights Under the Bill of Rights
Hat tip to Douglas Berman (OSU), Sentencing Law & Policy Blog, for calling attention to Charles Lane's To Keep and Bear Arms (Washington Post, March 22, 2008). Lane's article presents an interesting historical perspective on mid-19th century gun control laws and practices. In future blog posts, Berman plans to showcase articles and commentaries that "provide a distinct perspective on the issues surrounding individual gun rights" while we await the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. Visit Sentencing Law & Policy often.
Growing up in suburban Chicago, I held the typical knee-jerk liberal opinion that private ownership of guns was a "bad thing," that gun owners were not playing with a full deck, that regulation of gun ownership should be very restrictive, that instead of locking and loading, one should call the police for protection ... or to put it in legal terms that the Second Amendment was protecting a now antiquated collective right to bear arms in the service of state militias and, as Lane noted, to participate in sheriffs' posses.
I've changed my mind. For the past eight years I've lived in a community were hunting, marksmanship and gun ownership is a family tradition. In other words, I've been blissfully ignorant; prejudice is not understanding the so-called "Other." Now, I'm hoping that Tribe's argument prevails. The Second Amendment protects more than a collective right but the right to bear arms should not be confused with a right to own and brandish the firearms of one's choosing. See Sanity and the Second Amendment (Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2008 )("Some liberal scholars like me, having studied the text and history closely, have concluded, against our political instincts, that the Second Amendment protects more than a collective right to own and use guns.")(emphasis added).
History. For a comprehensive history of this controversy, see Saul Cornell, A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America (Oxford UP, 2006).
A Sampling of Past LLB Posts:
- Gun-Control Case Divides State AGs
- Gun-related Violence from a Global Public Health Perspective
- National Research Council Publishes "Firearms and Violence"
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Growing up in suburban Chicago, I held the typical knee-jerk liberal opinion that ...
Wow, I'm shocked. Your typical knee-jerk liberal opinion is ubiquitous throughout your posts on this blog, so I find this disclosure refreshing. Keep it up.
Posted by: anymouse | Mar 27, 2008 7:48:54 PM