(CA) Gun-rights confusion (Amazing that this could be written in CA)


December 29, 2002, 02:05 AM
Gun-rights confusion

Dec. 20, 2002
Orange County Register Editorial

Conditions are now ripe for the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not dealt with gun control issues since 1939 (and then rather cryptically), to resolve whether the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms or a collective right that can be exercised mainly by members of an organized militia.

Earlier this month the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a set of amendments to California's Assault Weapons Control Act. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the 72-page decision as a brief for his assertion in the summary that "the Second Amendment does not confer an individual right to own or possess arms."

Judge Reinhardt, you may recall, caused a flap earlier this year when he ruled that "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, then stayed (postponed indefinitely) the order.

Last year the Fifth Circuit, in United States v. Emerson, came to the opposite view, concluding, on the basis of the language of the amendment and the philosophies of the founders, that the Second Amendment does confer an individual right to bear arms, regardless of whether the individual serves in a militia or not, so long as those weapons have a "legitimate use in the hands of private individuals."

One of the classic conditions that causes the Supreme Court to take up a constitutional issue is when two circuits are in disagreement about the interpretation of a constitutional right. That condition exists now. Whether the court has the political courage and intellectual integrity to do so properly may be in question. But it would not be surprising to see a Second Amendment case on the docket next year or the year after.

We believe, of course, that while Judge Reinhardt's decision was clever and erudite, it was incorrect.

The Second Amendment, like all the other provisions in the Bill of Rights, was designed to recognize an individual right, not a collective right, and there are plenty of court decisions in America's history that affirm this. Most state constitutions (44 of 50, according to UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh) secure an individual right to bear arms.

There has been considerable recent scholarship on the Second Amendment. The best-supported view is that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. We hope the Supreme Court affirms this sound interpretation


This paper had better be careful..... California might revoke their First Amendment rights as well if they keep trying to question what's best for the subjects.

It's good to see that Orange County hasn't changed too much.....

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December 29, 2002, 02:45 AM
This ruling by the ninth circuit may actually be the best thing that could have happened to California gun owners. As the article states, the way is now open for the Supreme Court to rule on the validity of the second amendment. Any predictions as to how that would go?

The current makeup of the ninth circuit court of appeals follows in the tradition of former Cal Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Byrd, who was kicked out of office by California voters some years ago. She was too wacked out even for Californians, and the clowns currently in the ninth circuit are cut from the same cloth.

December 29, 2002, 03:02 AM

Amazing that it's an editorial.

Amazing that it's for an LA audience.

Good points in it! :D

Jim March
December 29, 2002, 03:23 AM
The OCRegister is the last honest paper in California. Another of the rare good ones is the Washington Times (NOT Post).

December 29, 2002, 07:42 AM
Jim: Yes the OCR is a great paper!

There are many small weeklys throughout the PRK that are extremely Conservative, while others are extremely Libertarian.

My personal favorite is the "Pioneer Press" from Scott Valley in Siskiyou County.

Just a small weekly but always on target!

December 29, 2002, 10:15 AM
I read most of the 9th Circuit's decision, difficult though it was. I am still shaking my head over their contention that "Keep and Bear" isn't the same as "Own and Possess". Many judges are very skilled at twisting words. Plain language is incomprehensible to them.

December 29, 2002, 10:41 AM
The study guides for the certificate (license) are online in .pdf format:

Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide (http://caag.state.ca.us/firearms/forms/pdf/hscsg.pdf)

I'm not sure if the link is working - when I click on it, the program goes into not responding mode - could be my computer. Might be time to reboot. :(

December 29, 2002, 11:59 AM
Legal types have always used their own language to control and keep themselves empowered. It's no different than than the "Animal Farm" animals discovering one day that "...some animals are more equal than others."

The Constitution was written in plain English for all to read and understand. Our Constitutional rights should be immovable, but instead, we have to worry about the political ideologies of those on the bench.

Our Constitutional and human rights are not subject to interpretation.

December 29, 2002, 01:57 PM
As wonderful as a "definitive interpretation" of the 2nd A would be, why don't I get a warm and fuzzy feeling over the Supremes trying to interpret ( as in twist) the fairly clear language of our Bill of Rights? This could be a fulminating moment in American history.

December 30, 2002, 02:30 PM
Collective rights ? Aren't rights gauranteed at the individual level ?

Gary H
December 30, 2002, 03:07 PM
I thought that the O.C. Register was a liberal rag. Years ago it was conservative. I lived in O.C. ..about 1971. My father told me that it had become a more liberal paper, but not as bad as the Chronicle in my neck of the woods. Good post..

December 30, 2002, 03:32 PM
to resolve whether the Second Amendment confers an individual right

protect not confer

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