Bush Administration Backs D.C. Gun Controls Before Supreme Court

In a surprising move, the Bush Administration has supported D.C. in the upcoming review of its gun control laws just as gun rights advocates thought they had finally achieved an upper hand on the long-unresolved constitutional question.

In filings with the Court, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement urged the Supreme Court limit gun rights and uphold the reasonable regulation of guns, notably including the banning of certain guns.The case will force the Court to finally review the language of the second amendment to determine if it creates an individual right or a right given to the states (to maintain militias). 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.”

I recently wrote this column to say that I believe an individual right interpretation is the most compelling on an objective read.Notably, Clement argues that the Second Amendment does create such an individual right, but devotes much of his brief to arguing for the Court to establish limits on the right — if it recognizes it. What will upset gun rights advocates the most, he argument that the Court should not strike down the law but remand it for a more tailored ruling.

While advocates are livid, the Bush Administration position reflects the general thrust of the lower court opinion. The appellate panel noted that it was not saying that limits could not or should not be placed on this right when it struck down the law. Rather, the judges indicates that — like any individual right — reasonable limits are expected in society. Nevertheless, the position of the Administration is likely to be seen as something of a betrayal among advocates when they are counting on strong support before the Court. With the Southern primaries approaching, it will be interesting to see how the GOP candidates deal with the question of limits on right to gun ownership.

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5 thoughts on “Bush Administration Backs D.C. Gun Controls Before Supreme Court”

  1. Whether guns serve any useful purpose or not, is not a Constitutional issue, nor the timbre of the underlying article. The Constitution is not about personal opinions; but rather about individual rights in a society. Inasmuch as I have friends, that are strict vegans, detest my eating of meat; and, I have largely been greatly affected by their influence – I will not permit them to deny me my meat. They in turn do not address me in a pedantic tone suggesting a prohibition on my rights. My personal opinion, is that ever since the repeal of the Volstead Act, diverse thinkers and the most relevant in affecting societal change – refrain from using the term ‘prohibition’ about anything. But, like you, that’s just my opinion, although not at odds with the Constitutional regards of this discussion.

    Regulation of the use of firearms as opposed to the ownership, thereof, seems to have a shred of logic; including, but not limited to, how one comes about to own one. I’m pretty certain if any politician, or citizens group starts hurling the term ‘prohibition’ around casually, they’ll find themselves hoisted out of relevance faster than one can say ‘Mein Kampf’.

  2. In my view guns serve no ueful purpose whatsoever. I am not swayed by arguments by hunters, target shooters or collectors. I personally would prefer a complete prohibition of all firearms except for police and military. I don’t see an individual right for recreational use of weapons within the Second Amendment. Even if that was the founders’ intent, nothing in the amendment precludes very strict restrictions on types of weapons, the number an individual may own, ammunition restictions, etc.

  3. Don’t you feel that the contextual relevance of the period in which the Amendment was written, is largely important in the interpretation and where we go from here ??

    I’ve been bewildered by the lack of historical relevance, and the calculated mis-use of the same, in discussing the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, since my high school days in the 60’s.

    Shouldn’t we be required to define the terms, regulated, militia, keep, bear, and arms as a glossary to the text ?

    Do people believe that the words ‘keep and bear’ were just a redundancy?

    It seems to me that there is a distinction. ‘Infringed’ is the other such clarifying word – meaning that the purpose of the Amendment was to prohibit the Federal Government from prohibiting. There was no comment here about regulating. Nor did they need one … since it would be very difficult in the time that this was written to find a family that didn’t ‘keep’ arms, as it were, whether or not they ‘beared’ them with regularity.

    It seems that because we see the word ‘regulated’ referring as an adjective to ‘militia’ that we get bogged down in etymological struggle that doesn’t exist.

    Those that are convicted of certain crimes in this country have already forfeited certain “inalienable” rights, as the consequences of their actions. This is in fact regulation. If someone is prohibited from driving because they forfeited their right by violating laws with regards to their resident State’s Motor Vehicle code, it is regulation. When a blind man cannot pass the eye exam required to possess a drivers license, it does not prevent him from buying and owning a car. So he gets to ‘keep’ a car, but is prevented from ‘bearing’ it, so to speak.

    It seems that we’ve been regulating guns in one way or another for many years in our history. Gun checks (not unlike a hat check) were a regular sight as we pushed the border of the US Westerly into prairie communities.

    If we disable the argument of the gun supplier – the commercial element of pro / con debate by limiting the discussion of regulation to using the gun, that is to say, ‘bearing’ the weapon, we begin to place the argument in more logic rich environment. As it is though, we’ve permitted, possibly encouraged, the argument to degrade to ownership, ‘keeping’, as it were, and by doing this we nurture the ideological detour from reason.

  4. I believe in the individual right to bear arms. But I also believe that there should be strong regulations on acquiring firearms, including back ground checks in mental status. NYS has a very good system for obtaining handgun permits. This system should be applied to shot guns etc. as well IMHO. More should be done to take illegal guns off the streets and severe consequnces for amyone who is caught using firemarsm, even if only in a threat to commit a crime. One major problem with our society is that new laws are always being made because existing laws are not enforced. Employers who employ illegal immigrants is a good example of this.


  5. Thank you so much for all you do for the little people. For the country. You are a true Patriot. May Divine Power and Love be with you in all of your days.


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