Apparently, there's still hope on the horizon!!!!
W A S H I N G T O N, May 7 — The Bush administration has told the Supreme Court for the first time that it believes the Constitution protects an individual's right to possess guns, reversing the government's longstanding interpretation of the Second Amendment
At the same time, Justice Department lawyers said the high court need not test that principle now.
"The current position of the United States ... is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to possess and bear their own firearms," Solicitor General Theodore Olson wrote in two court filings this week.
That right, however, is "subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse."
Olson, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, was reflecting the view of Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Second Amendment confers the right to "keep and bear arms" to private citizens, and not merely to the "well-regulated militia" mentioned in the amendment's text.
Ashcroft caused a stir when he expressed a similar statement in a letter to the National Rifle Association last year.
"While some have argued that the Second Amendment guarantees only a 'collective' right of the states to maintain militias, I believe the amendment's plain meaning and original intent prove otherwise," Ashcroft wrote.
180-Degree Change in Policy
Critics accused him of kowtowing to the NRA and of undermining federal prosecutors by endorsing a legal view 180 degrees from what has been official Justice Department policy for some 40 years.
At the time it was not clear whether Ashcroft was expressing his personal view, or stating a new policy position for the federal government. That question was mostly answered last November, when Ashcroft sent a letter to federal prosecutors praising an appeals court decision that found "the Second Amendment does protect individual rights," but noting that those rights could be subject to "limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions."
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals went on to reject arguments from Texas physician Timothy Emerson that a 1994 federal gun law was unconstitutional. The law was intended to deny guns to people under restraining orders.
"In my view, the Emerson opinion, and the balance is strikes, generally reflect the correct understanding of the Second Amendment," Ashcroft told prosecutors.
Emerson appealed to the Supreme Court, putting the Justice Department in an awkward position. Although the government won its case in the lower court by using the old interpretation of the Second Amendment, Ashcroft had switched gears by the time the case reached the high court.
Olson's court filing Monday urged the high court not to get involved, and acknowledged the policy change in a lengthy footnote. Olson also attached Ashcroft's letter to prosecutors.
Olson made the same notation in a separate case involving a man convicted of owning two machine guns in violation of federal law. In that case, the government also won a lower court decision endorsing a federal gun control law.
soooooooo, we gun tote'n citizens weren't permitted/allowed/authorized/sanctioned to have/own or carry weapons before ?? & now we are ??
gee...! i had no idea the 2nd amdt. had to be ratified by the liberals
i heard a sound byte, on Chuckie shoemur.., he was blowing a gaskett or two.....
Well after years off having anti-gun legislation shoved down our collective throats, it feels good that the now the shoe is on the other foot. I'm sure the Democrats know our feelings. I'm sure the folks at VPC, and the Brady Bunch are seething mad. As I'm sure that the Democrats are still smarting from the loss of Al gore.
It's always nice to know that one administration tells us something we already know(our right to bear arms) and in reality, those rights are infringed upon us by certain individual states and cities and that administration who recognizes our rights doesn't protect us from those states and cities that infringed on our rights.
When the Bush administration tells, no, orders the Illinois government and Chicago's Mayor Daley to allow us to carry concealed weapons and stop any possible gun bans, then I'll be impressed with the new administration.
The restriction of not being able to purchase while under a restraining order really fumes me. There is ZERO process involved in getting a restraining order. Divorcing wives often do it just to make their situation look better in court. And that is all it takes to take your 2nd Am. right from you.
Being the constant pessimist that I am I saw this "to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse".
Althought the read is good news this statement doesn't sit well with me or for the Assualt Weapons vote coming up in 2004.
I hope I'm wrong.