McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010)

Supreme Court upholds personal right to bear arms
by C. Paul Smith, July 3, 2010

I will make a couple of comments on the recent Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, which held that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to the states as well as to the federal government. For the most part this case is just a re-hashing of the same arguments that were made two years ago, when the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia law that banned the ownership of handguns. District of Columbia v. Heller. However, there are three interesting points to be gleaned from the new case, McDonald v. Chicago.

First, the Court made it official that the Second Amendment is binding on the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. During the past 140 years, one by one, most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights have been declared binding on the States through the Fourteenth Amendment (in a process called “selective incorporation”). Until the McDonald decision, the Supreme Court had never actually held that the Second Amendment was one of those rights. The Heller decision did not address this issue because it dealt with a federal law.

Second, this case stands as an example of the obstinacy and blind-mindedness of those who oppose the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens. It is scary to see that both Heller and McDonald were only 5-4 rulings—that they were not unanimous indicates a serious flaw in the constitutional understanding and philosophy of the dissenters. They and their followers distort history and common sense to support their views, and they never give up. Their desires to give government preeminence over individual responsibility would strip us of precious rights and render us unable to protect and defend ourselves; it is just another example of those who think government should do everything for us, and that we should not be able to help or defend ourselves.

Third, it was interesting to read how the right to bear arms was a key right to protect blacks who had been liberated through the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. This fundamental right played a key role in the preservation and protection of all their rights and freedoms.

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