Are We Losing Our Second Amendment Rights
Previously published on May 10, 2010
Anyone who has recently visited their local hardware story to purchase ammunition for a gun, knows prices have grown considerably in the past few years, to the point that owning a gun may soon be a heavy financial burden. Although much of this can be attributed to rising prices of commodities like brass, false rumors of proposed tax increases are creating a buying frenzy that threatens to push those prices up even further.
Since the election of liberal Democrat Barack Obama as President, fears over the possibility of a movement to strip down the Second Amendment right to bare arms are on the rise. Fortunately, this fundamental right is likely to remain intact under the current Administration.
For the first time in history, the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, has reaffirmed an individual's right to bare arms under the Second Amendment. What the Court did not do was establish there is an absolute right to own and bare arms. Like many of our constitutionally guaranteed rights, this means there are limits to exercising this freedom.
For example, laws can be created to require the registration of firearms or ensure gun owners take responsibility for their weapons; however, the recent case affirm laws requiring the use of devices like trigger locks or gun safes are unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in United States v. Miller (1939) long ago established the Second Amendment does not protect individuals who use weapons to commit crimes or represent a threat to public safety.
On the other hand, this fundamental right cannot be infringed upon through the passage of legislation that prevents any eligible citizen from owning and baring an arm. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Due Process clause requires an individual's rights, whether explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or not, cannot be violated without that individual having been prosecuted in a court of the Law.
Like all our Constitutional rights, the Second Amendment must be protected, as failing to do would undermine the entire Document. Then again, these legal protections do little to dampen fears that efforts to diminish the Second Amendment will be successful, especially since the Court has not guaranteed an absolute right to own and bare arms.
Keeping guns, specifically high-powered automatic riffles and easily concealed handguns, out of the hands of reckless individuals is the key goal for anti-gun activists. Unfortunately, many of these groups pursue a policy course that would require the elimination of the Second Amendment. When groups push for such policies, which indirectly or directly, restrict legitimate gun ownership and usage, there need to be political and legal challenges to such efforts.
Furthermore, indirect attacks against the Second Amendment, like raising taxes on ammunition, raise serious concerns. In all likelihood, the Obama Administration will not waste political capital on fighting for new gun control legislation, while the Supreme Court will refine its recent ruling through several new Second Amendment cases coming up in the Fall of 2009, but the current Administration does need to do more, through policy, to demonstrate it views the right to bare arms is fundamental.