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Guide to the Constitution - The Heritage Foundation
Again the lack of a perceived threat insured the continued underdevelopment of the Amendment doctrine. It would take the development of a national gun control movement in the 1960s and the attempt to redefine the right to arms, or perhaps more accurately to read it out of the Constitution, to transform the NRA from an almost purely hobbyist organization into a political entity, and one thatwould be forced into the unaccustomed role of civil liberties and civil rights advocate.
California implicitly offered strong support for the individual rights view of the Second Amendment as well as the view that the amendment limited state as well as federal action, the issue was not buttressed by supportingarguments from the NRA.
Amendments to the Constitution Essay.
. An important hallmark of civil rights and civil liberties organizations is the felt need to vindicate constitutional and legal principle beyond the simple support of one's core constituency. Thus, the ACLU has traditionally had a policy of supporting First Amendment free speech, press, and assembly rightsfor a wide variety of groups right, left, and center, even those that they may sharply disagree with. Similarly, the NAACP and the Legal Defense Fund has supported challenges to the death penalty even when the individuals condemned to death have been white, even whites hostile to blacks. In recent decades the NRA has also fought to vindicate the principle of a right to arms thatwent beyond its core constituency of rural, working-class and middle-class white men. Thus, since the late 1960s the group has fought efforts to ban so-called Saturday Night Specials, essentially most inexpensive handguns, although the stereotypical customers for that type of firearm are allegedly inner city blacks. Also, within the last decade theNRA has led the fight against bans on guns in public housing,
. Cottrol, note 62, at xxvii. Jackson offered the collective or state's right view of the Second Amendment as one of three alternative theories as to why the 1934 Firearms Act did not violate the guarantees of the Second Amendment. Jackson's brief also argued (1) that the Second Amendment simply provided constitutional recognition of the common law right to have arms -- a right that was always subject to regulation and limitations -- and (2) that even, granting a right to arms, the government still had the right to control those weapons that were peculiarlyusable for criminal purposes. Powe, note 18, at 1330-31. The case involved unlicensed transportation of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.
Essay: Context of The Second Amendment - SchoolWorkHelper
A 1966 majority opinion in a habeas corpus proceeding mentioned thatthe Fourth and Fifth Amendments stand "as a protection of quite differentconstitutional values reflecting the concern of our society for the rightof each individual to be let alone." The Court provided no citationto an earlier use of the "right ... to be let alone" in thiscase. , 382 U.S. 406, 416 (1966).
Finally, in 1967, the Court overturned its rulingin and held that recording by police of conversation inpublic telephone booth was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, becausethe speaker had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the booth. , 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967). The Court quoted "right tobe let alone" from Warren & Brandeis 1890 article, instead of fromBrandeis' dissent in , a case on the same issue. Maybe theCourt was embarrassed to reverse its earlier position in .
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The Second Amendment - The Right To Bear Arms Essay
) How does one "weigh" this sort of right against the government interests? Does it make sense to talk about, for instance, "strict scrutiny" when the most obvious compelling government interest seems so directly in conflict with the very essence of the right? 5. The Second Amendment also casts extra light on the general matter of protection for subversive activities, whether it's First Amendment protection for subversive speech, or the barriers that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments place in the way of suppression of antigovernmentconspiracies. Many have argued that constitutional protections can't extend to those who would subvert constitutional government: In the words of one of the World War I free speech cases, how could the Constitution, "that great ordinance of government and orderly liberty," be "invoked to justify the activities of anarchy or of the enemies of theUnited States, and by a strange perversion of its precepts [be] adduced against itself"?
The Second Amendment of the Constitution Essay.
In evaluating this argument, it's surely worth considering that Justice Joseph Story, no wild-eyed revolutionary, described the "right of the citizens to keep and bear arms" as "the palladium of the liberties of a republic[,] since it offers a strong moral check againstthe usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers[,] and it will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." Likewise, Blackstone described even the more limited English right as a means "of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are foundinsufficient to restrain the violence of oppression." Perhaps the Bill of Rights is more radical -- and more dangerous -- than people might at first believe. Much public debate seems to take the view that all is for the best under this, the best of all possible Constitutions. This veneration of the Constitution and especiallythe Bill of Rights may have some social utility, but it's not conducive to clear legal thinking. Sometimes it's helpful to rub students' noses in the fact that the Bill of Rights might have some provisions that are unsound or downright bad. Obviously, many people believe the Second Amendment is actually quite a good idea: Since 1970, 14 states enacted their own state constitutional rights to keep and bear arms for the first time, or strengthened their existing rights; a fifteenth state will vote on the matter inNovember 1998.
The Second Amendment Research Essay Example for Free
But our sense is that many of the students who most revere the Bill of Rights take a very different view of the Second Amendment (whether they conceive of it as securing an individual right or as a states' right one). Confronting this problem of possible "constitutional stupidity" or even "constitutional evil" can be generallyvaluable to such students; and it can shed light on specific arguments, such as the notion that the Bill of Rights should never be amended.
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