Will SCOTUS decide "the individual-versus-collective argument"?

Court decision on gun-control is personal for 2 women


"In the event that someone does get in my home, I would have no defense, except maybe throw my paper towels at them," she said. But Parker lives in the nation's capital, which does not allow its residents to possess handguns.

Elilta "Lily" Habtu thinks that is how it should be. She knows about gun violence firsthand, surviving bullets to the head and arm fired by the Virginia Tech University shooter nearly a year ago.

Comment: Is personal protection guaranteed? Previous CFG post

More: Supreme Court considers 'right to bear arms'


The court has not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment in the 216 years since its ratification. The basic issue for the justices is whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

The City Council that adopted the ban said it was justified because "handguns have no legitimate use in the purely urban environment of the District of Columbia."

But Dick Anthony Heller, 65, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for self-defense. His lawyers say the amendment plainly protects an individual's right.

The court's ruling, expected by the end of June, could have a far-reaching impact on gun-control laws in the United States and could become an issue in the November election.


  1. It never ceases to amaze me that people cannot simply read the second amendment and have a complete understanding of its intent. Gun advocates insist on completely ignoring the first clause: "A well regulated, militia, being necessary to a free state..."

    The individual vs. collective argument is completely spurious. The language of the ammendment is inarguably collective. But don't have to go through the useless exercise of parsing and reparsing the words of the amendment, in an attempt to make it say what we want it to say. We have related historical documents that tell us beyond a doubt what the intent of the amendment is. From these documents, it is clear that the framers disired to protect the states' rights to continue to form a regulated militia - that is to say their own armed forces, seperate from the Federal government's - in time of need. There is no mention whatsoever of protecting an individual's right to keep and bear arms. There was a debate about the necessity for people on the fronteer to have weapons.

    This argument has come before the Court on several occasions over the last 100 years. In all cases, the Court has ruled that the Second Amendment does not gaurantee the individual's right to own guns. Over the last several years, Republican presidents have placed strict originalists on the Court. Thus, if the current Court is to be true to their majority interpretive philosophy, they must consider contemporary documents and conclude that Washington D.C.'s ban on hand guns is consitutional.

  2. And who is parsing here. The rest of the sentence reads "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". Militia was made up of the people, minutemen. Farmers, shop keepers etc. The framers did not trust a standing army nor a strong federal govt.

    The argument of banning guns still doesn't address the fact that people can still get them illegally. Enforce the laws we have on the books because an outright ban never works. How did prohibition work out?

  3. Nice try, anonymous, but the first clause only modifies the second, primary clause, and there are no contemporary sources from the founding era that would back you up on that. The Founding Fathers, to a man, endorsed it as an individual right.

    Ever notice that the Brady Campaign isn't exactly keen on quoting the Founders on the 2nd Amendment? There is a reason.


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