Friday, July 28, 2006

An Individual Right or a Collective Right?

One of the big arguments between supporters of an individual right to keep and bear arms and those who oppose that right is whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the individual or guarantees the rights of states or only for militias. Anti-gunners have argued recently that the opening clause of the amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...", means it is a collective right, not an individual right. In 2004, the Justice Department released a Memorandum Opinion with over 400 footnotes which concludes that "the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms." It's a long document, but it's worth the time to read it. And if you don't believe its conclusions, also go back and read all the references. Argue with the logic, if you can, but don't just disagree with it because it guts all the gun grabber's rationales for existence.

The 2005 Firearms Law & Second Amendment Symposium discussed this issue at length, with speakers taking both sides of the issue (or at least attempting to). The video clips are very interesting, even for those of us who aren't lawyers. If you're particularly focused on the first clause of the amendment, be sure to listen to Prof. Nelson Lund, Ph.D. in the first block of speakers on the general topic, Second Amendment, Congress, & The Courts. Listening to the entire conference is a worthy use of your time if you really want to know the facts on this issue, whether it agrees with what you feel or not.

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