Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights To States ‎

The Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, June 28, in 5-to-4 decision. The Second Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally restricted only the power of the federal government. The Supreme Court later ruled that most but not all of the protections of the Bill of Rights applied to the states under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, one of the post-Civil War amendments. Obama was not one of the 55 senators (including Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold and eight other Democrats) who signed a brief arguing the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right and that the DC gun ban was unconstitutional.

Here’s the Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2004:

In 2001, Obama was one of just nine senators to vote against a bill that toughened penalties for violent crimes committed during gang activity. Obama said the law did not clearly define a gang member and he questioned why lawmakers were targeting Hispanics and blacks for stiffer sentences.

Two years earlier, after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, Obama voted “present” on a bill requiring juveniles to be prosecuted as adults for firing a firearm on or near school property.

Obama also voted against a bill permitting gun owners to claim self-defense when using a gun in their homes if the local community bans the use of handguns. Obama said municipalities should control local gun regulations, not the state.

“That law eviscerated anti-handgun ordinances in some communities,” Obama said. “The way I feel, Wilmette should not determine Mattoon’s firearms ordinances and Mattoon should not determine Wilmette’s.”

Associated Press, Sept. 11, 2004:

-Voted ‘No’ on letting people claim a self-defense protection in court for using a gun in their homes despite local weapons bans. (SB2165, 2004)

-Voted ‘Yes’ on letting retired police and military police carry concealed weapons. (SB2188, 2004)

Chicago Tribune, August 20, 2004:

Last week, Obama won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. Union officials cited Obama’s longtime support of gun-control measures and his willingness to negotiate compromises on bills backed or opposed by the FOP.

Support for gun control in America has been steadily dropping. Currently, the American public strongly opposes attempts to ban gun ownership, and is divided on attempts to limit gun ownership. A 2008 Gallup poll revealed that 28% of the population supported a total ban on handguns — the lowest level since the poll was first taken in 1959 (when support for a total ban was 60% of the population). This same poll revealed that 49% of Americans in 2008 preferred more restrictive gun laws, compared to 78% when the question was first asked in the 1990 version of the poll. About 10,000 murders are committed using firearms annually. – cite_note-49.

The right to keep and bear arms, often referred as the right to bear arms or the right to have arms, is the assertion that people have a personal right to “weapon(s)” for individual use, or a collective right to bear arms in a militia, or both. In this context, “arms” refers to a variety of weapons and armor and to “bear arms” meant to wage war. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is a federal provision. Each of the fifty states also has its own state constitution. Forty-four states have chosen to explicitly embody a right to bear arms into its state constitution. Regarding the state interpretations of these state and the federal constitutional rights to bear arms, state courts have addressed the meaning of these specific rights in considerable detail. Two different models have emerged from state jurisprudence: an individual right and a collective right.

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