Has Anyone Actually Read the Heller Case?

Advocates for the unfettered sale, carry and use of firearms base in great part their argument for the constitutionality of these positions on the interpretation given the second amendment by the US Supreme Court in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v Heller, 554 U.S. 570.

They often cite Heller as authority for their belief that the second amendment provides a legal and constitutional basis for gun ownership and display on the part of each and every individual, unfettered by virtually any form of restriction by any governmental action.

One has to wonder if any of these people has ever actually read the Heller opinion or if they understand how the biased personal beliefs of the ultra conservative Supreme Court, and of the single most conservative Justice in the history of the Supreme Court who wrote the opinion, negated two centuries of legal precedent and the clear record of intent and meaning that led to the actual language of the
second amendment.

In Heller, the Court invalidated two District of Columbia gun safety laws, one that required gun owners to store their weapons ether disassembled or with trigger locks, and the other that placed restrictions on gun licensing and on the carrying of unregistered guns. The Court for the first time, ever, two hundred years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, held that the second amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

In reaching this decision, the Court rejected the clear language of the amendment, which begins “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,…” and the fact that the Court had never before ignored that language to find an independent right of citizens not part of a “well regulated Militia” to bear and keep arms.

But, a major problem that has grown by leaps and bounds since the decision is the misguided and totally fallacious belief that the ruling in Heller means that reasonable

requirements, including background checks and the denial of permits to certain classes of people - felons, mentally ill, etc. - are illegal and unconstitutional. Nothing could be further from the truth., and as clearly enunciated in Heller, the exact OPPOSITE is true - exceptions were clearly carved out, specifically stating the felons and the mentally ill were NOT entitled to firearm ownership, that laws
Non-toxic products for your home and yard
forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings were proper, and that laws imposing conditions and qualifications for gun sales were valid. The exact language contained in the opinion, as follows:

“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Today, as the NRA, as fox fixed news noise, and as the unified voice of the right wing power structure vilifies President Obama for yesterday’s announcement of an executive order imposing national standards for background checks and firearm registration, those of us who comprise the 80+% of the American people who are disgusted with the lack of needed legislation on the part of the teabagger Congress and right-wing dominated state legislatures, consider yesterday to be perhaps our President’s greatest moment, as he made an impassioned speech to the nation, telling us he would act where no one else would.

Thank you, President Obama.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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