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Old 01-19-2008, 05:48 AM   #1
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Default Gun owners warn arguments endanger Second Amendment



Saturday, January 19, 2008



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WEAPONS OF CHOICE
National firearms ban 'reasonable'?
Gun owners warn arguments endanger Second Amendment

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Posted: January 19, 2008
1:00 a.m. Eastern



By Bob Unruh



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© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com




A Second Amendment advocacy organization is asking the Bush administration to withdraw a legal brief that leaders fear could be used to support "any gun ban – no matter how sweeping," as long as some court somewhere determines it is "reasonable."

The concern comes from Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, whose group is pleading with the Bush administration to withdraw an anti-gun brief filed by the U.S. Solicitor General in a Supreme Court case regarding a District of Columbia ban on handguns.


Paul Clement

The document from U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement noted since "unrestricted" private ownership of guns clearly threatens the public safety, the Second Amendment can be interpreted to allow a variety of gun restrictions.

His brief suggests gun rights are limited and since they are subject to "reasonable regulation," all gun limits imposed by the federal government should be affirmed as constitutional.

"Given the unquestionable threat to public safety that unrestricted private firearm possession would entail, various categories of firearm-related regulation are permitted by the Second Amendment," he wrote in the brief.

But Gun Owners of America, a grass-roots lobby representing more than 300,000 Americans, said the opinion creates a huge threat to the constitutional provision banning the "infringement" of the right to bear arms.


"If the Supreme Court were to accept the Solicitor General's line of argument, D.C.'s categorical gun ban of virtually all self-defense firearms could well be found to be constitutional…" Pratt said.

Worse, when the standard for evaluating gun bans becomes "reasonable," there is nothing else needed in order for a court somewhere to decide that all guns should be forbidden.

"In contrast to other provisions in the Bill of Rights, which can only be trumped by 'compelling state interests,' the Second Amendment would be relegated to an inferior position at the lowest rung of the constitutional ladder, should the Justice Department prevail," said Pratt.

He said the legal opinion could have been written by a gun limit lobby and it could be used in support of a ban on all guns by a government proclaiming "this is a reasonable regulation" even while affirming the "right" to bear arms.

Paul Helmke, of the pro-gun control Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence, in fact earlier said he saluted the position paper.

But Pratt said it would be analogous to the situation in the state of Illinois, where the state constitution provides a right to keep and bear arms, "subject to the police power," he said. Not surprisingly, Illinois has one of the most restrictive atmospheres in the nation regarding guns, he told WND.

"Under the administration's amicus brief, a national ban on all firearms – including hunting rifles – could be 'constitutional,' even if the Supreme Court decides – on ample historical evidence – that the Founders intended the Second Amendment as an individual right," he continued.

"Rather than argue that 'shall not be infringed' is a categorical prohibition on government gun-banning, the administration has chosen to align itself with those who do not believe in self defense or civilian gun ownership," Pratt said.

He said his organization is issuing a public call for the Justice Department to withdraw the anti-gun statements, and is inviting other organizations to join in its battle against such a precedent.

In the case at hand, a Washington, D.C., ban on all handguns kept by residents in their homes for self-defense is being challenged.

Alan Gura, who is heading up the challenge, said he was troubled by Clement's actions, and described the statements as "hostile" to his Second Amendment position.

"We are very disappointed the administration is hostile to individual rights," he said.

Because of the specifics of the D.C. case, the ultimate ruling is expected to address directly whether the Second Amendment includes a right for individuals to have a gun, or whether local governments can approve whatever laws or ordinances they desire to restrict firearms.

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."

Clement is the Bush administration's chief lawyer before the court, and submitted the arguments in the case that is to determine whether the D.C. limit is constitutional. He said the Second Amendment, "protects an individual right to possess firearms, including for private purposes unrelated to militia operations," and noted the D.C. ban probably goes too far.

But his brief urges the Supreme Court to decide most current restrictions on guns and gun owners cannot be overturned by citing the Second Amendment.

"Nothing in the Second Amendment properly understood … calls for invalidation of the numerous federal laws regulating firearms," he wrote.

The court's hearing on the case has not yet been held.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59770


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Old 01-19-2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sculker View Post
The document from U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement noted since "unrestricted" private ownership of guns clearly threatens the public safety, the Second Amendment can be interpreted to allow a variety of gun restrictions.
Can someone show me where it is written that if the United States Solicitor General fills his pants at the idea that a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights is too scary for him, that the Constitution may be ignored or changed by fiat?

2A isn't about guns. It is about arms in general, and there are no restrictions.

(Hint: if you want to reduce the fear that gangstas and other undesirable pieces of crap might get ahold of nasty weapons, get the gangstas and other undesirable pieces of crap out of society. There was a time we wouldn't tolerate that stuff, but right now, the underclass idolizes these vermin. That's a problem.)


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Old 01-19-2008, 11:29 AM   #3
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Yup, too many of us don't understand the gravity of the rights debate. If this was a debate about the 1st, the 4th or any other amendment than the 2d, the public (and a host of other rights advocacy groups) would be up in arms (no pun intended). It is "buffet style Constitutionalism" to pick and choose which ones you are willing to support.
I was very disappointed by the brief. We'll see gents.

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Old 01-19-2008, 03:30 PM   #4
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"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." -- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” – Thomas Jefferson

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