The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment: Understanding the Court's Landmark Decisions

Discussion in 'Political/Religious Topics' started by ammodotcom, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    The Second Amendment is one of most fundamental provisions of the Bill of Rights, and one of the most fiercely debated. Since it was first put to paper, legal scholars, gun owners and anti-gun activists have engaged in an endless discussion over the meaning and scope of the Second Amendment, and for most of that time, gun owners have been on the losing side of the argument.

    Time and again, the pro- and anti-gun factions of American society have appealed to the Supreme Court, the last judge of the law, for a resolution of their differences. Except in its earliest ruling on the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court held that American citizens had no inherent right to bear arms. According to the highest court in the land, the Second Amendment only protected the states’ right to maintain a militia, not an individual’s right to possess firearms.

    Gun owners were not the only ones affected by the Supreme Court’s earliest interpretation of the Second Amendment. Under the same ruling that allowed states to restrict gun ownership, states were also allowed to pass laws to favor certain religions, ban certain kinds of speech and outlaw certain kinds of assembly. By restricting the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court left the First Amendment seriously weakened for many years. In a very real way, the right to bear arms is the guarantor of all other rights, and any threat to the Second Amendment endangers the entire Bill of Rights.

    It was only in 1925 that the Supreme Court ruled that states had to respect the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly. It would take nearly another century for the Supreme Court to protect the Second Amendment from the states and to guarantee an individual’s inviolable right to keep and bear arms for hunting and self-defense.

    As a gun owner and an American citizen, you have a duty to defend your rights. Simply exercising your right to gun ownership is not enough. It’s also imperative you learn the history of landmark Second Amendment Supreme Court cases that have decided and will continue to decide the scope of our gun rights in the years to come.

    Selective v. Total Incorporation

    For most of its history, the Supreme Court has applied the Bill of Rights selectively to state and local governments, particularly with the Second Amendment.

    Even the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, which incorporated almost all the provisions of the Bill of Rights in the 1960s, largely ignored the Second Amendment. Until very recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is not "fundamental" to liberty, unlike the rights to freedom of speech, religion and assembly, which state laws cannot restrict.

    From United States v. Cruikshank in 1875 to District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the Supreme Court held that states can impose broad restrictions on firearm possession without violating the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Thanks to the decisions handed down in Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, states are now bound to respect the Second Amendment. Even today, however, firearm possession is not an unlimited right. State and local governments are allowed to restrict and regulate firearms in a "reasonable" manner.

    United States v. Cruikshank (1875)

    The United States v. Cruikshank was the Second Amendment's first real test under the incorporation doctrine. For gun owners, Cruikshank marked the start of more than a century of unchecked regulation by the states.

    The case arose during a disputed gubernatorial election between Reconstruction Republicans and Democrats in Louisiana. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor claimed victory. President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops to support the Republican government, but Democrats refused to acknowledge their loss.

    The state's nearly all-black militia gathered at the Colfax County courthouse to prevent the Democratic candidates from assuming local offices. Members of the White League, an armed paramilitary group of white Democrats, attacked and killed more than a hundred militiamen, an event which became known as the Colfax County Massacre.

    Because state courts would not bring murder charges against whites for killing blacks, federal charges were brought against the White League for violating the black militiamen's right to bear arms and freely assemble.

    The Supreme Court overruled the convictions of Cruikshank and other White League members, arguing that the First and Second Amendments apply only to the federal government, not state or local governments nor individual citizens. The Court wrote that the "Second Amendment has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government."

    In legalese, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is an "unincorporated" right, and only Congress was barred from restricting the Second Amendment, not states or individuals. Although states could restrict citizens' gun rights, they couldn't outlaw guns altogether. Doing so would deprive the United States of its "well regulated militia."

    The Court held in United States v. Cruikshank that the individual had no inherent Second Amendment rights. For more than a hundred years, this interpretation of the Second Amendment would go largely unchallenged. An individual's right to bear arms would be left up to the states, to allow or restrict as they deemed fit.

    Continue reading The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment: Understanding the Court's Landmark Decisions at
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  2. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    Legal obfuscation does NOT in any way, shape, or form, supercede a God-given right. PERIOD!

    The Founding Fathers knew that, and they meant what they said when they wrote it in the 1700s.

    All the legal "scholars" in the world can make a total mess out of anything, when given enough time and motivation. Our current country is a prime example.

    Anything other than an unrestricted exercise of a RIGHT is a politically motivated usurpation of that RIGHT. I swore to defend it, and I do, every day.
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  3. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

    The fact that Squealer (and the Squealers of the world) in Orwell's book could shift meanings of rights-- "some animals are more equal than others" -- is prima facia validation of why the second amendment exists in the first place.

    I've seen more fiction become reality in the past year than I'd hope I'd ever see in three lifetimes. I don't need any more.

    If they 'pack' the supreme court it becomes a moot point; the court becomes a propaganda device for a marxist regime. Not a body making bona-fide legal decisions but a tool to rationalize the will of the politburo to the masses. This is how it happens.
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  4. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    TXplt wrote:
    "If they 'pack' the supreme court it becomes a moot point; the court becomes a propaganda device for a marxist regime. Not a body making bona-fide legal decisions but a tool to rationalize the will of the politburo to the masses. This is how it happens."

    Then it becomes: "Welcome to the USSA, comrade." ;)
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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  5. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    information: Facts. Posting the writing. How!
    Agreeing yes.
    Knowing; I don’t need a piece of paper to defend family and friends and rights and wrongs

    The Federalist Papers assert that local militias (as opposed to a "regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country") exist as a formidable check on federal power. In Federalist 46, Madison writes of the local militia versus a national military:

    It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. [Federalist 46]
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  6. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    The framers knew.

    Bearing arms is "the right of the people" who would make up a state militia, which protects us from national tyranny (even if Madison was overly generous in describing the efficacy of militiamen during the Revolutionary War). In Federalist 29, published 228 years ago, in 1788, Alexander Hamilton concurs as to why militias are necessary:

    If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist. [Federalist 29]
  7. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    information: Reading inspires knowledge
    This link provides the written

    Full Text of The Federalist Papers

    The Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name "Publius," in various New York state newspapers of the time.

    The Federalist Papers were written and published to urge New Yorkers to ratify the proposed United States Constitution, which was drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In lobbying for adoption of the Constitution over the existing Articles of Confederation, the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail. For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were each members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers are often used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution
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  8. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The Heathens aka Democrats deny the bearing of arms is a Godly command. Let them ignore Luke 22:36. :usa2:
  9. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    They just outright deny God, altogether.
  10. rando

    rando G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    EXACTLY! Ten Man. I have been telling many family and people I know the same thing. Packing the Court will defeat the purpose of choice. They will pass any bill they write. We will be screwed.
  11. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    neophyte likes this.
  12. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The Constitution is silent on the number of SOCTUS judges. In 1776 they were required to set on Colonial benches.
    There as been as few as 5 and as many as 10 Judges. Pres. Lincoln's number of 9 Judges remains. That number was to remain after the Civil War. Nine judges has been established since 1867.
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  13. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    We need a constitutional amendment fixing the number of Supreme Court justices at nine.
  14. Huey Rider

    Huey Rider G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I agree but that one would be a hard one to push through.
  15. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    Probably a GOOD thing.
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  16. reverendg

    reverendg G&G Evangelist

    When the court starts arguing incorporation, it seems they forgot to read the whole Constitution, down to the supremacy clause.
  17. mitchr

    mitchr G&G Evangelist

    A hard amendment to get done, so I say let's turn the tables on them. Reelect President Trump, keep control of the Senate & gain control of the House, then pack it with conservative judges. Make it so that the liberals can never catch up!! A side benefit, never hafta listen to pelousy again!!:p

    Tall order, but maybe easier done than an amendment.:usa2:
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  18. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    Orwell and Huxley debated who got it more right in 1984 and Brave New World. They'd have been mortified to learn they were both spot on: a surveillance state from which propaganda gushes out of every digital orifice, steeped in mood stabilizers, promiscuity, and damnable nonchalance.
    neophyte, Ten Man and TXplt like this.