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From MSNBC News:

Court says individuals have right to own guns
Decision is justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history

MSNBC and NBC News
updated 1:14 p.m. ET, Thurs., June. 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. 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."

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said.

The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."

He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

'Landmark victory'
The ruling quickly became fodder for the presidential race. Sen. John McCain lauded the decision in a written statement, calling it a "landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States."

The Republican presidential hopeful criticized his rival Barack Obama's stance on the issue, saying the Democrat had refused to sign a statement calling for Thursday's ruling.

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

Senator Obama said the decision "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 ... 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," Obama stated.

The White House praised the ruling.

"We are pleased by the Court's decision upholding Americans right to bear arms. We look forward to reading the ruling in detail," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

The issue had caused a split within the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.

Dissenters vs. supporters
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday's outcome.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, criticized the ruling. "I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it," she said.

The capital's gun law was among the nation's strictest.

Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller's favor and struck down Washington's handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right.

Court 'aware' of problems
Scalia said nothing in Thursday's ruling should "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings."

In a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority "are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country" and believe the Constitution "leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns."

The law adopted by Washington's city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. Shotguns and rifles may be kept in homes, if they are registered, kept unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.

Opponents of the law have said it prevents residents from defending themselves. The Washington government says no one would be prosecuted for a gun law violation in cases of self-defense.

The last Supreme Court ruling on the topic came in 1939 in U.S. v. Miller, which involved a sawed-off shotgun. Constitutional scholars disagree over what that case means but agree it did not squarely answer the question of individual versus collective rights.

Forty-four state constitutions contain some form of gun rights, which are not affected by the court's consideration of Washington's restrictions.

The case is District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25390404/
 

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Some guy in the Washington Post made the remark that they need to stock up on bodybags because of the killings that are sure to follow.


I think the killings might be people breaking into peoples houses and finding out that its not as easy a job as it once was.
 

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Five years ago they predicted "Blood will run in the streets" when Michigan voted in the CCW law. Except for the druggies and criminals in downtown Detroit, this has not been nor is it a problem.

[I hope there are no members of HPFF that fall into the two groups described above in Detroit. If so, sucks to be you :D ]
 

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The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
--Thomas Jefferson.
 

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It just makes me sick that all these gun-control nuts can claim that
this will spur new gun violence. That is pure BS! (And I don't mean bold statement!)
Please pardon my outburst, but grrrrrrrrr!
Gun crimes are not committed by law abiding gun owners!
I really wish someone could post the statistics of how many gun crimes are committed by legal gun owners,
as opposed to how many are by individuals with either illegal guns, or illegally in possession of a gun.
But that statistic would never get any air time, because it doesn't serve
the freakin' gun control fascists.

Today's ruling is monumental in maintaining our legal constitutional rights,
as granted by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Ok, rant over...for now :wink:
 

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"I really wish someone could post the statistics of how many gun crimes are committed by legal gun owners, "

Once someone commits a gun crime, they aren't a legal gun owner, they are a gun criminal.

If someone did publish stats, it would get plenty of air time. Every conservative AM talk radio show would devote tons of time to it. Fox news would give it plenty of show. Eventually the more left leaning media would give it some airtime, with a "but but, but but think of the children" spot.

This victory isn't as good as it should have been. The court ruled that DC could still require a license to own a handgun, and that they must give one to Mr Heller. The court did not rule that requiring a permit to exercise a fundamental right was unconstitutional, nor did they require that obtaining such a permit be easy.

I'm glad they overturned the DC ban, but I'm not about to break out the fireworks for this one. (Although I have been looking for a reason to shoot of some of those chinese dragon shotgun shells)
 

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No, but look at it this way Four, they opened the door a crack. I think they didn't want to reach too far with this one rulling. In fact, it's possible that if they DID try to reach too far the rulling may have gone the other way.

One step at a time my friend :)
 
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what they don't realize is CRIMINALS don't legally own guns anyway....so this doesn't effect the people that would be using guns for bad.

This law was effecting the people that would use guns for GOOD. They already had a problem with crime, it's not gonna increase because of the legality of owning a gun.
 

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well the thing is they think if you use a gun to protect yourself or your family or anything else it is a gun crime. it doesnt matter if you are protecting yourself and family.
 

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This court was an interesting court. You had the four conservative justices, the four "non-conservative" justices, and the one Justice who is kind of a Swing vote. I agree with the statement someone made earlier that overreaching could have sabotaged the system. The Court said really all it could say based on the fgacts of the case. At issue were just two questions, (1) is the right of the people to keep and bear.... an Individual or a Collective right, and (2) was the DC ban constitutional within the inte4rpretation of the 2nd amendment. Justice Scalia and the 4 other majority justices clearly answered those two questions. They stayed within the scope of the decision that they had to ake, and anaged to get some poibnts in that are long overdue, such as the fact that constitution dopesn't have "secret" meaning, and that certain rights pre-exist the constitution and do not depend on it for their existence. Those two points will get a lot of people a lot of mileage in the battle to hang onto their inherent rights as individuals. I think it was a good ruling, at the right time. I think that it could have been uch worse. They could have decided to strictly deal with heller's plea and skirt aropund the meaning of the 2nd amendment, like the Court has had a history of doing.
 

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I really wish someone could post the statistics of how many gun crimes are committed by legal gun owners, "
Once someone commits a gun crime, they aren't a legal gun owner, they are a gun criminal.
Granted, but I am implying someone whom commits a crime who was a legal gun owner.

If someone did publish stats, it would get plenty of air time. Every conservative AM talk radio show would devote tons of time to it. Fox news would give it plenty of show. Eventually the more left leaning media would give it some airtime, with a "but but, but but think of the children" spot.
I agree the cts circuit would play it, but the left wing spin doctors would try to deny it.

This victory isn't as good as it should have been. The court ruled that DC could still require a license to own a handgun, and that they must give one to Mr Heller. The court did not rule that requiring a permit to exercise a fundamental right was unconstitutional, nor did they require that obtaining such a permit be easy.
Not a home run, but it is still huge to have the high court clearly rule, and stand by the 2nd amendment. Scalia even made the comment about handguns, which is fuel to our fire. One hill at a time my man.

Indiana only requires a license to carry a handgun, not to own one.
It's still wrong, but a tougher nut to crack.
If I pass the FBI check to own the weapon, I shouldn't have to ask for permission to carry it.
Now the issue of states not honoring permits to carry might be tackled.
Illinois should not be able to deny your right to carry,
Ohio should honor my Indiana permit. If they offer one, and won't allow out of staters to apply for it, they should honor the one my state has issued.
 
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I have been beaming all day about that bit of good news. Yeah, the SC has been making some decisions lately that I dont agree with, but this was the main one I had in mind. Yeah, I concur, one problem at a time, one issue, but stay the course, and do our best.

On the same vein, Butch: I agree with you on if you pass the background to purchase, why cant you be allowed to conceal carry without question? That brings right up the state and federal level: They do talk to each other, but not about that. I will give you the reasoning that I chose to get mine: I would rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I dont know about your state, but here, the "rules" of CCW seem to be up to the officer (I know thats not how it goes, but thats what I percieve here, due to certain circumstances, and that is a WHOLE nother topic).

And on the Reciprocity agreements between states, yeah, thats another bowl of worms to deal with. Thankfully, I am in a state that has a vast majority of the U.S.A. that allows me, with my AZ permit, to carry concealed in their states.
 
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