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Posted: 6/10/2002 12:54:32 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear two cases that would have offered a test of the Bush administration's newly articulated position that the Constitution protects an individual's right to own guns. Without comment, the court turned down two men convicted of violating federal gun laws. The men had argued that the laws are unconstitutional because the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to ``keep and bear arms.'' The cases marked the first time that the Bush administration had told the Supreme Court that it has reversed a decades-old policy on the Second Amendment. Until now, the government has said the amendment protects a collective, not an individual, right to gun ownership. The distinction is important, because gun laws necessarily restrict individual rights. The administration also said its new position does not undermine federal gun laws, because the Second Amendment right is still subject to ``reasonable restrictions.'' Using that rationale, the administration urged the high court not to accept the appeals of Timothy Joe Emerson and John Lee Haney. Both were properly convicted of violating laws the administration considers reasonable limitations of the gun right, Solicitor General Theodore Olson said. The Second 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 Supreme Court interpreted that in 1939 as a protection of militia rights, not of individual ones. Decades of Justice Department policy rested on that interpretation, which preceded most federal laws regulating who may own what type of gun. ``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,'' Olson wrote in footnotes attached to filings in the Emerson and Haney cases. 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 wrote last month. Olson, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, was reflecting a view that Attorney General John Ashcroft had voiced last year in a letter to the National Rifle Association. ``The text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms,'' Ashcroft wrote then. At the time Ashcroft wrote the letter, it was unclear whether he was expressing his personal view or stating a new policy position for the government. That question was mostly answered last November, when he 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.'' That opinion by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals went on to reject arguments from Emerson, a Texas physician, that a 1994 federal gun law was unconstitutional. The law was intended to deny guns to people under judicial restraining orders. Cont...
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 12:55:08 PM EDT
``In my view, the Emerson opinion, and the balance it strikes, generally reflect the correct understanding of the Second Amendment,'' Ashcroft told prosecutors. The appeals put the Justice Department in an awkward position. Although the government won both cases in lower courts using the old interpretation of the Second Amendment, Ashcroft had switched gears by the time the appeals reached the high court. The cases are Emerson v. United States, 01-8780 and Haney v. United States, 01-8272.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 3:26:12 PM EDT
Thank you for standing up for our rights, Republicans. Thank you, John Asscroft, for asking the Supreme Court to reject hearing the appeal. We, the gun owners of America, love being held hostage by the Republican Party -- because without a court ruling, we're at the mercy of whonever is in power at the moment.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 3:33:34 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 3:34:06 PM EDT
No surprise's from the Bush administration here. I sure hope all of you who "voted for the lesser of two evils" rather than "waste your vote" by voting for a Constitutionalist are pleased with yourselves.......
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 3:45:33 PM EDT
Isn't Bush trying to get some justices in the supreme court? Maybe he is just waiting until he can get a few conservatives in. Right now there are 2 liberals, 2 conservatives, and that crazy woman(O'conner?) who doesn't know how she feels. Maybe now isn't the best time.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 4:05:29 PM EDT
Does this mean if we form a militia and are active in it we can have any kind of guns we want? We would not be covered by any restrictions?
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 4:41:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By liberty86: No surprise's from the Bush administration here. I sure hope all of you who "voted for the lesser of two evils" rather than "waste your vote" by voting for a Constitutionalist are pleased with yourselves.......
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WHAT "constitutionalist?"
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 10:16:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hg112: Isn't Bush trying to get some justices in the supreme court? Maybe he is just waiting until he can get a few conservatives in. Right now there are 2 liberals, 2 conservatives, and that crazy woman(O'conner?) who doesn't know how she feels. Maybe now isn't the best time.
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While republicrats are in office there never will be a "best time". You all have been sold a bill of goods that never will be delivered on.
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