SUPREME COURT RULES
IS AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT!!!
On Thursday, June 26th, 2008 the US Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a right to own firearms for self-defense as well as hunting. This is the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history. The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as not compatible with firearms rights under the Second Amendment. Prior to this decision the court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "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 basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority of his colleagues, said the Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home." Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented from the majority opinion.
Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller's favor and struck down Washington's handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right. The law adopted by the Washington DC city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. This is the first step in restoring the rights of the American people with regard to firearms ownership and possession and ultimately their use. It is a good beginning.