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Despite its generally antipathy towards government curtailment of rights real or imagined in the other ten amendments, the ACLU has long held that the Second Amendment was the lone “collective” right in the Bill of Rights, excluding the first clause of the Tenth. It will come as no great shock that the organization, which couldn’t be bothered to defend a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, has leapt to the defense of an immigrant who was denied renewal of his South Dakota CCW [concealed carry weapons permit] due to a change in the law requiring US citizenship. reports that the man is a permanent legal resident, has been here for 30 years, and apparently has had a CCW since before the law was changed in 2002 as a response to the 9/11 attacks.

The headline above this post is a little misleading; of course the ACLU is not interested in the Second amendment, they are interested in immigrant’s rights. They read the change in the law as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am guessing they are referring to section 1, not civil war pensions.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I don’t see where it mentions permanent resident aliens, but I also thought that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was clearly referring to “the people” so I guess the ACLU and I speak a different language.

“That to us is a discrimination based upon alienage which would run against the 14th amendment’s prohibition against discrimination upon alienage,” Executive Director of ACLU of South Dakota Robert Doody told

I still don’t see the word form “alien” anywhere in the text of the Fourteenth, but what do I know? Snarkiness aside, I am all in favor of long-term legal residents being able to carry, just as I am in favor of any law-abiding citizen being able to carry.

The ACLU may be going through a re-examination of its position on the 2A, as this Washington Times article claims. However, the last update on the ACLU website to their  2A position came shortly after the Heller decision two years ago.

In addition to disagreeing with the ruling (surprise!) they go on to state that “In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue—unless immigrants are involved.” I added that last bit. I believe it is more likely they are just trying to blur the lines between citizens and non-citizens.

That being said, I hope they win this case. While I believe that anyone living here legally who is eligible should become a citizen I understand why they may not. I have friends who are permanent-resident aliens who keep the citizenship of their birth for the very practical reason that it permits them to work in EU member countries without a permit. Again, I hope they prevail. To paraphrase Mr. Lott, “More law-abiding people with guns, less crime.”

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  1. a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment ?

    I don’t see where it mentions permanent resident aliens

    but it does say…

    “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”

    In 1886 the US Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment rights of Chinese citizens in California were violated by discriminatory laundry business licensing. They ruled, unanimously, “The fourteenth amendment to the constitution is not confined to the protection of citizens. It says: ‘Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ These provisions are universal in their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality; and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws”

  2. ACLU was correct on this one, better late than never. don’t confuse green card holders with illegal immigrants.

    the 14th states:
    >nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    ANY PERSON includes US permanent resident aliens, my friend. three federal district courts already agreed on that, and the one in Massachusetts is pondering the same question (raised by two 2A groups)

    for your information, legal US permanent resident aliens are part of the political body (“the people”) more than nonresident or illegal aliens:

    1. after filing a form N300 (declaration of intention to become a US citizen) they are automatically part of the States’ non-organized militia
    2. they can participate to the political process by contributing to federal campaigns and political parties
    3. they can join certain branches of the U.S. military
    4. allowed by federal law to purchase firearms and have an ATF license for firearms curios and relicts
    5. precedents
    NRA v. State of Washington
    Smith v. Nelson:
    and another case in Kentuky

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