Saturday, June 28, 2008

British defeated, colonists have the right to bear arms!

Well, the Supreme Court has handed down their decision in D.C. v. Heller. According to the big court the Second Amendment applies to individual citizens and not just to members of the "militia."

The decision makes sense to me. Some have argued that the amendment was put into place to keep the Federal Government from disarming the states ans so did no apply to the individual citizens outside of state sponsored and organized militias. I have always felt that this interpretation just didn't fit. Looking at the time period of the writing of the amendment we see that the British had recently (within 10 years) been defeated by an armed citizenry. Granted, the colonists were formed into militias during the conflict but the individuals usually owned the weapons they were using. The individual colonies, or states, did not normally supply small arms.

I also find it ironic that the weapons in question Heller were handguns. At the time of the writing of the Second Amendment sidearms were the weapons of officers and some mounted troops. The vast majority of the colonists carried muskets or hunting rifles. These were the assault rifles of the day. If the amendment is strictly construed it seems that an argument could be made for overturning assault rifle bans as well as D.C.'s handgun ban.

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