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View Full Version : Fred Thompson writes on SCOTUS and the DC Gun Ban Case


Soldier415
11-21-2007, 6:48 AM
Second Amendment: A Citizen’s Right
Posted on November 20th, 2007
By Fred in Judges, Second Amendment

http://fredfile.fred08.com/lawyers

Here’s another reason why it’s important that we appoint judges who use the Constitution as more than a set of suggestions. Today, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

Six plaintiffs from Washington, D.C. challenged the provisions of the D.C. Code that prohibited them from owning or carrying a handgun. They argued that the rules were an unconstitutional abridgment of their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, provides, “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.”

The District argued, as many gun-control advocates do, that these words only guarantee a collective “right” to bear arms while serving the government. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected this approach and instead adopted an “individual rights” view of the Second Amendment. The D.C. Circuit is far from alone. The Fifth Circuit and many leading legal scholars, including the self-acknowledged liberal Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, have also come to adopt such an individual rights view.

I’ve always understood the Second Amendment to mean what it says – it guarantees a citizen the right to “keep and bear” firearms, and that’s why I’ve been supportive of the National Rifle Association’s efforts to have the DC law overturned.

In general, lawful gun ownership is a pretty simple matter. The Founders established gun-owner rights so that citizens would possess and be able to exercise the universal right of self-defense. Guns enable their owners to protect themselves from robbery and assault more successfully and more safely than they otherwise would be able to. The danger of laws like the D.C. handgun ban is that they limit the availability of legal guns to people who want to use them for legitimate reasons, such as self-defense (let alone hunting, sport shooting, collecting), while doing nothing to prevent criminals from acquiring guns.

The D.C. handgun ban, like all handgun bans is necessarily ineffectual. It takes the guns that would be used for self protection out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, while doing practically nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining guns to use to commit crimes. Even the federal judges in the D.C. case knew about the flourishing black market for guns in our nation’s capital that leaves the criminals armed and the law-abiding defenseless. This is unacceptable.

The Second Amendment does more than guarantee to all Americans an unalienable right to defend one’s self. William Blackstone, the 18th century English legal commentator whose works were well-read and relied on by the Framers of our Constitution, observed that the right to keep and bear firearms arises from “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.” This view, reflected in the Second Amendment, promotes both self-defense and liberty. It is not surprising then that the generation that had thrown off the yoke of British tyranny less than a decade earlier included the Second Amendment in the Constitution and meant for it to enable the people to protect themselves and their liberties.

You can’t always predict what the Supreme Court will do, but in the case of Heller and Washington, DC’s gun ban, officials in the District of Columbia would have been better off expending their efforts and resources in pursuit of those who commit crimes against innocent people rather than in seeking to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens who would use them only to protect themselves and their families. And that is why appointing judges who apply the text of the Constitution and not their own policy preferences is so important.

Glock22Fan
11-21-2007, 8:22 AM
The Founders established gun-owner rights

My only criticism is that the Founders did not "establish" these rights, they enumerated (acknowledged/listed) them.

The Brit
11-21-2007, 8:27 AM
...The Founders established gun-owner rights so that citizens would possess and be able to exercise the universal right of self-defense.

I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I was under the impression that the primary aim of the Second Amendment was to provide an armed populace as a deterrent against governmental tyranny, not merely for self-defense. Had it been only for the latter reason, I would have suspected that it would not have been the second amendment, but perhaps a later one.

bulgron
11-21-2007, 8:40 AM
I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I was under the impression that the primary aim of the Second Amendment was to provide an armed populace as a deterrent against governmental tyranny, not merely for self-defense. Had it been only for the latter reason, I would have suspected that it would not have been the second amendment, but perhaps a later one.

It may have been the primary aim of the 2A to act as a deterrent against tyranny, but that is not the only reason for the 2A, as Mr. Thompson points out in his writings.

Also, the order of the amendments have nothing to do with their importance to the founding fathers. The first two amendments considered for ratification weren't even ratified, so order is clearly not meaningful where it comes to the Bill of Rights.

Addax
11-21-2007, 9:03 AM
Mr. Thompson has my vote!

JALLEN
11-21-2007, 10:25 AM
This common-sense, plain spoken approach sure is appealing. It's not the only such explanation I've seen from Sen. Thompson either. It's a pity all the Senators, especially those from Tennessee, can't seem to do as well.

Soldier415
11-21-2007, 11:52 AM
Mr. Thompson has my vote!

Mine too!

bwiese
11-21-2007, 12:20 PM
Go, Fred, go. And I seem to be able to tell you wrote that yourself - it wasn't the overmassaged product of some staffer.

I know you love your wife, but please listen to real campaign professionals and let her go back to being wifey so you can go into full kick-*** mode.

Time to kick it in high gear, bro.

FreedomIsNotFree
11-21-2007, 12:24 PM
Go, Fred, go. And I seem to be able to tell you wrote that yourself - it wasn't the overmassaged product of some staffer.

I know you love your wife, but please listen to real campaign professionals and let her go back to being wifey so you can go into full kick-*** mode.

Time to kick it in high gear, bro.

Bill, I too am worried about Fred. He seems tired already. For some reason his campaign seems extremely stagnant. Its almost as if he doesn't really want to win...as if he threw his hat in the ring because everyone told him he should. I hope we see some energy coming from his campaign relatively quickly. I was somewhat excited about his prospects, but have been left unconvinced.

Soldier415
11-21-2007, 12:39 PM
Bill, I too am worried about Fred. He seems tired already. For some reason his campaign seems extremely stagnant. Its almost as if he doesn't really want to win...as if he threw his hat in the ring because everyone told him he should. I hope we see some energy coming from his campaign relatively quickly. I was somewhat excited about his prospects, but have been left unconvinced.


No offense, but that right there is the sentiment that I just don’t understand.

He is the only candidate that has released a detailed, feasible plan to combat illegal immigration that is common-sense and contains NO amnesty.

He is the only candidate to put out a detailed, in depth plan on how to address Social Security (which no other candidate in recent memory has had the nuts to do since it is such a hot button issue).

He offered strong plans and positions regarding National Defense/National Security, not just a general statement saying “I believe in defending this country” but releasing a white paper outlining his “Four Pillars of National Defense.”

While most candidates speak in generalities, and refuse to take a firm stand on an issue and give detailed plans to let us know how exactly they plan to address these issues when they are President... Fred has done exactly that!

Lazy? If that is lazy and no energy then sign me up.

FreedomIsNotFree
11-21-2007, 12:48 PM
No offense, but that right there is the sentiment that I just don’t understand.

He is the only candidate that has released a detailed, feasible plan to combat illegal immigration that is common-sense and contains NO amnesty.

He is the only candidate to put out a detailed, in depth plan on how to address Social Security (which no other candidate in recent memory has had the nuts to do since it is such a hot button issue).

He offered strong plans and positions regarding National Defense/National Security, not just a general statement saying “I believe in defending this country” but releasing a white paper outlining his “Four Pillars of National Defense.”

While most candidates speak in generalities, and refuse to take a firm stand on an issue and give detailed plans to let us know how exactly they plan to address these issues when they are President... Fred has done exactly that!

Lazy? If that is lazy and no energy then sign me up.


No offense taken, but where did you see me use the word "lazy"? I used the words stagnant and tired.

I did not say Fred has not layed out his agenda. I dont believe you understand where I am coming from in regards to Fred Thompson. I would like to see him do better...

Soldier415
11-21-2007, 12:56 PM
No offense taken, but where did you see me use the word "lazy"? I used the words stagnant and tired.

I did not say Fred has not layed out his agenda. I dont believe you understand where I am coming from in regards to Fred Thompson. I would like to see him do better...

It wasn't directed at your comments really, but just the collective image that the media has managed to build "i.e. the lazy, no fire in the belly stuff"

Maybe i just have a different perspective because I have had the opportunity to meet both Fred and Jerri and speak to them at length about national security, illegal immigration, war on terror, veterans issues, the economy, and the 2nd Amendment/right to carry.

I see where you are coming from, my thoughts are that he doesn't have to try and distract people with an "up and at em" manic persona because he has such substance, consistency, and detailed plans for the Country.

As they say, speak softly and carry a big stick.

Soldier415
11-21-2007, 9:29 PM
officials in the District of Columbia would have been better off expending their efforts and resources in pursuit of those who commit crimes against innocent people rather than in seeking to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens who would use them only to protect themselves and their families.

HELLO! Finally someone speaks the truth