Thursday, June 26, 2008

Historic Supreme Court Ruling...

For decades, the meaning of the Second Amendment has been at the heart of a political and legal debate over gun control. People have argued whether it guarantees the right to bear arms to individuals or to citizens in a militia.

Written more than 200 years ago, the amendment says - 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. 

Seems simple enough, but the Supreme Court has never really ruled on whether it applied to the rights of the individual, rather than a 'collective' right of those serving in a 'militia'. Today, in Washington DC, the Supreme Court rendered, for the first time, a clear decision on the rights affirmed by the Second Amendment.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Individual Americans have a right to own guns, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday for the first time in history, striking down a strict gun control law in the U.S. capital.
The landmark 5-4 ruling marked the first time in nearly 70 years the high court has addressed the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It rejected the argument the right to keep and bear arms was tied to service in a state militia.
Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with militia service and to use it for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense in the home. However, he said the new right was not unlimited.
The court struck down two parts of the country's strictest gun control law adopted in Washington, D.C., 32 years ago -- the ban on private handgun possession and the requirement that firearms kept at home be unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.
The ruling marked the first time the court has struck down a gun control law for violating the Second Amendment.
The ruling won praise from the White House, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Wayne LaPierre of the politically powerful National Rifle Association, who said, "This is a great moment in American history."

Here is one American who is thankful for a government that, while often prone to swing away from basic individual rights, can also correct itself.

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