June the 26th marked the third year since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller case. The Heller case has been viewed as a major affirmation of what the Second Amendment to the Constitution means. The fact that the basic meaning of the Second Amendment must be interpreted by the Supreme Court just goes to show how plain language can, in many instances, be viewed in very different ways . . .
For those involved in the Heller case, the decision by the SCOTUS was surely bitter sweet. It verified the individual right to bear arms in self-defense. But the decision did not validate what many people were probably hoping it would; that not only should every law-abiding individual have the right to keep and bear arms, but should be able to do so with absolute minimal government intervention.
“Reasonable restrictions,” as we’ve seen, are still upheld by the different states. The Heller case failed to establish the full reach of what most of us want the Second Amendment to establish but not without at least being specific about the right to arms for self-defense. Justice Scalia wrote,
Putting all of these textual elements together, [referring to the clause “keep and bear arms”] we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553, 23 L.Ed. 588 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed ….”
As far as the case goes, been there, done that. However, it is certainly interesting reading even three years later.
Looking beyond the decision made in Heller (which only garnered support by five of the nine justices) and the decision made in McDonald, there are other accomplishments in several state legislatures that are noteworthy in the time that has passed since each of these Supreme Court cases.
For instance, Arizona has adopted a Constitutional Carry style of concealed firearms. As long as one is not otherwise restricted from having a concealed firearm, citizens in Arizona, along with Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming, can carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
Several states have adopted state firearms in commemoration of firearm designers or the role a specific firearm played in the formation and establishment/history of the state. And one item of significance; gun sales are up, thanks in part to the fear-mongering of the Obama Administration.
The anti-gunners fail to see the writing on the wall. America is not as gun-hating as the anti-gunners would want. With somewhere around 200 million guns in circulation, the population who owns at least a gun is growing. With several manufacturers of guns and accessories being based here in America, those purchases are also creating and maintaining jobs for Americans (imagine that…).
As members of the Armed Intelligentsia crowd here on TTAG, we are part of the population that elects those congresspersons who uphold our right to keep and bear arms. We are the ones who help sustain the industry that is vital to our hobbies, professions, self-defense, and local economies.
The big question is what else can we do to keep moving in the right direction? How much are we involved at the local level to create or maintain a pro-gun viewpoint in the wake of court cases like Heller or other legislation that supports (or opposes) the Second Amendment?