High court takes up Second Amendment

High court takes up Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides: “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 Second Amendment is again before the U.S. Supreme Court. The challenge is to New York law. Two watershed Second Amendment opinions issued in 2008 and 2010. In District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the court established that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The individual need not belong to a militia. Then, in 2010, the court held in McDonald v. City of Chicago that the Second Amendment restricts not only the federal government but also state governments. So what does the Second Amendment mean? Well, under the Second Amendment – just to illustrate extremes – individuals have a constitutional right to keep and bear way more than squirt guns and way less than intercontinental-ballistic missiles with multiple nuclear warheads. So where and how does one draw the line? Enter New York law, on which the court will hear oral arguments in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen on Nov. 3. This will be a good decision for Justice Clarence Thomas – for more on the court’s longest-serving current member, please see last week’s column – to favor us with one of his always cogent, always easy-to-read historical analyses. According to the New York State Rifle and Pistol […]

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