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After an absence of seven decades, the Second Amendment appears again in the Supreme Court

Nation awaits D.C. handgun ruling

Statement of Paul Helmke President of the Brady Center on Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Fighting for Our Right to Bear Arms

Guns Out of Control

FIndLaw: U.S. Constitution: Second Amendment

Massachusetts Militia Roots: A Bibliographic Study

This week, the Supreme Court began to address the complex question of the Second Amendment. The Amendment states that 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 last time the Supreme Court directly addressed the meaning and intent of this amendment was in 1939, when it upheld a law that restricted sawed-off shotguns on the grounds that this type of weapon had no "ordinary military use." The meaning (and wording) of this amendment has been debated at all levels of society and jurisdiction since it came into existence, and if this week's deliberations are any indication, it may take several months before the Supreme Court issues a ruling in this matter. The case came to the Court because a Washington, DC security guard wanted to take his gun home at night, but is currently unable to do so because the city has a handgun ban. The Court's initial discussion on the matter was far-ranging, as justices touched on everything from debates during the writing of the Bill of Rights to an 18th century ordinance in Boston which required individuals to keep gunpowder on the top floors of their homes for safety reasons. Certainly, it's a development that is worth keeping tabs on, as it could have far-reaching ramifications across the country.

The first link will take users to an article from this Wednesday's International Herald Tribune which discusses the Supreme Court's recent discussion and debate on the Second Amendment. The second link leads to a news story from this Monday's Washington Times which talks about the potential ramifications for the District of Columbia, which has had a ban on handguns for over thirty years. Moving on, the third link leads to a statement from the president of the Brady Center, Paul Helmke, on the recent arguments heard before the Supreme Court. In the statement, Helmke stated, "Think how much safer we would all be if we made it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons nationwide, not just in a few areas." The fourth link will take users to an editorial on the right to bear arms which appeared in the Boston Globe on Tuesday. The author, Robert A. Levy, comments on how Washington's ban on firearms might coexist with an interpretation of the Second Amendment that secures the right of individuals to own such weapons. The fifth link leads to a "Flashbacks" feature from The Atlantic magazine that contains links to previously published pieces that debate the true intentions behind the Second Amendment. The sixth link contains an annotated version of the Second Amendment, provided courtesy of FindLaw. Finally, the last link leads to an intriguing document authored by Captain Robert K. Wright, Jr. which traces the roots of the Massachusetts Militia all the way back to the late 1620s.
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Alternate Title U.S. Supreme Court wades into gun-rights debates
GEM Subject
Date Issued 2008-03-21
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2008-03-21
Archived Scout Publication URL

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