The Second Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms

The United States Constitution is the longest serving doctrine of democracy in world history.  The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:  "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". rol/p/2nd_amendment.htm

Barack Obama has stated, in response to a recently decided Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, that struck down the District of Columbia's prohibition on handguns:  "(I) always believed that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures." uns-obama-mccainjun27,0,5693711.story


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Lock and Load Some Common Sense

The US Constitution is a wonderfully malleable masterpiece. It's simultaneously steeped in tradition, yet remarkably fresh. That quality usually stands us in good stead, but requires lots of judicial interpretation - much of it extending "meanings" to cover issues the framers could never have imagined. Some call these decisions judicial activism. Others hail them as a forward-thinking, rational decisions. But with charges and counter-charges thick in the air, there's no reason to suspect the bickering over some amendments will end anytime soon.

The Second Amendment is one example of the Constitution getting it - if not wrong - at least too vague. There have been decades of debate about the definition of a militia. Lawmakers and the courts disagree on whether basic gun control laws are allowed. In fact, there's even controversy over what constitutes "arms" - pistols, high-powered automatic weapons, or bazookas. Even though the Second Amendment isn't a hot button issue for me, I find it interesting to hear the debate.

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OMG, he lurched to the center!!!! He's not a progressive!!!!!

The new meme being pushed by a lot of political commentators and anti-Obama posters is that he is showing his true centrist colors. Obama has 'lurched' to the center. The only trouble with it is that it's not really true. He's never been the flaming, far left liberal that many have tried to paint him.

In the last few days, there have been a bunch of diaries on this site and others either ranting about his 'lurch to the center' or serving as 'I told you fools he was no progressive' rants.

There are four issues that are supposedly acts of betrayal by Obama - FISA (the big one), gun control, the death penalty, and public financing for his campaign. While there is some small nugget of truth in a couple of these, they are mostly twisted to show him in the worst light possible. No big surprise there given who's doing most of the complaining about these issues.

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John McCain's Gun Control Flip-Flop

John McCain has been accusing Barack Obama of flip-flopping on gun control.  Well, Johnny, I hate to tell you this, but so have you.

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McCain Flailing To Attack Obama On Guns

John McCain is trying mightily to gain some advantage, any advantage out of today's Supreme Court decision overturning DC's ban on handguns.

From The Hill:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) immediately seized on the Supreme Court's ruling that Americans have the right to bear arms and slammed his presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the issue.

"Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right -- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly," McCain said, referencing a major Obama campaign gaffe.

Throwing at wall. Not sticking.

The problem for McCain here is that rehashing bitter gate is pretty much all he has because he and Senator Obama really aren't all that far apart on this issue. Barack Obama has released a statement of support for the Heller decision and for the position that the second amendment does protect the right to bear arms.

"I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today's ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

"As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today's decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

By essentially agreeing with McCain, Obama takes gun control off the table as a wedge issue and leaves McCain with very little to point to distinguishing between their positions.

So he went with this:

McCain also pointed out that his Democratic rival did not join him in signing an amicus brief in the case.

Ahh, the old signed the amicus brief trick. I'm sure that will take off like wildfire.

I'm concerned about the precedent this decision is setting for gun laws in place in cities around the country but Obama is choosing his battles and I'd agree that politically, this is not one worth waging right now.

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