Friday, June 27, 2008


All American gun owners know what the above Hooray is all about but, for the benefit of others, one report below:

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms, ending a ban on owning handguns in Washington DC in its first ruling on gun rights in 70 years. The court's 5-4 decision - on whether the right to keep and bear arms is fundamentally an individual or collective right - upheld the second amendment of the US constitution on the right to bear arms. "The second amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defence within the home," the court said in a resume of the decision.

It was a victory for gun rights advocates and could have a far reaching impact on gun control legislation across the country. The high court had never before issued a precise ruling on the interpretation of the second amendment to the constitution, which states: "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."

Washington, home to the White House and the US administration, has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Private possession of handguns is strictly banned, and any rifles or shotguns must be kept unloaded in homes or under a trigger lock. City government officials argued the ban, instituted in 1976, was necessary to stem rising gun violence, and that the second amendment protects gun rights for people associated with militias, not individuals.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case, District of Columbia vs Heller, first argued in 2003 that the DC gun ban violates the citizens' second amendment rights. Alan Gura, the lead lawyer for the plaintiff, questioned the anti-crime impact of the city's laws, saying they have "accomplished nothing except to prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

The case, originally brought by a federal building guard who carries a handgun on duty and wanted to keep it in his home for self-defence, attracted national attention and a flurry of "friend of the court" amicus briefs filed on both sides. Supporters of gun rights include groups as varied as Pink Pistols and Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 126 Women State Legislatures, and the powerful, well-financed gun lobby, the National Rifle Association.

On the other side, law enforcement groups, the American Bar Association, US mayors and coalitions against domestic violence have argued that easy access to handguns causes murder rates to rise. The Supreme Court last took up the issue in 1939, but its ruling on a case involving alleged bank robbers and registration of certain firearms did not directly address the question of the individual versus collective right to bear arms.


The dissenters

The decision was a close-run one in that the majority was only 5-4. And some of the dissenting judges can only be called Leftist lunatics. For instance, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that: "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

As a reader writes:

"In my opinion the above ranks as the silliest remark ever to come from someone who is supposed to have intelligence. Where is a weapon more likely to be needed? Does he also advocate that troops in a war zone not carry loaded weapons? Why should police be armed?"

Consequences already:

Following Thursday's (5-4) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit (complaint) challenging the City of Chicago's long-standing handgun ban. "Chicago's handgun ban has failed to stop violent crime," SAF founder Alan Gottlieb stated. "It's time to give the Constitution a chance."

In addition to SAF and ISRA, plaintiffs include Chicago residents Otis McDonald, a retiree who has been working with police to rid his neighborhood of drug dealers, and who wants to have a handgun at his home; Adam Orlov, a former Evanston police officer; software engineer David Lawson and his wife, Colleen, a hypnotherapist, whose home has been targeted by burglars. Attorney Alan Gura, who argued the District of Columbia challenge before the high court, and Chicago area attorney David G. Sigale, represent the plaintiffs. "Our goal," Gura said "is to require state and local officials to respect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Chicago's handgun ban, and some of its gun registration requirements, are clearly unconstitutional."

"The right to defend our homes and families against those who would do them harm, whether a random criminal, violent ex-domestic partner, or other wrongdoer, is one of the principles upon which America was founded," Sigale said. "It is time the City of Chicago trust its honest, law-abiding residents with this Constitutional right." "The city has been denying gun owners their civil rights for a long time and I think this lawsuit could have a profound effect on their registration law," ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson added.

Under the gun law currently in place, firearms must be re-registered annually. "Each time," Gura said, "a tax is imposed, forms must be filled out, photographs submitted. A person who owns more than one gun will find herself or himself constantly in the process of registering each gun as it comes due for expiration. If registration is to be required, once is enough."

He further noted that Chicago's bizarre requirement that guns be registered before they are acquired often times makes registration impossible. The penalty for failure to comply with the registration scheme is that a gun not re-registered on time can never be registered again. Gura likened it to a requirement to dispose of a car if it is not re-registered on time with the Department of Motor Vehicles.


And we might soon see more of this

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Armed neighbors are now patrolling the Central Avenue business district in response to a shooting and three armed robberies at nearby businesses. Overall, neighbors and police say the area is safe. The Neighborhood Watch Alliance, started by Scott Yamanashi, includes nightly patrols from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Yamanashi says there are up to 20 members who wish to remain anonymous. Nearly all, he says, have conceal and carry permits and take their handguns with them during their patrols.

"It's the pattern of crime, the brazenness of criminals and me getting shot, which may have culminated into this movement," Yamanashi said. He was shot in the arm earlier this year while breaking up an armed robbery at the Snug Harbor Bar. "We want to draw a line in the sand and say this is enough," he said. His injury prompted the idea of armed citizen patrols. "We just want to be an added set of eyes and ears. A neighborhood watch that has some teeth," he said.

Yamanashi says the patrols are already paying off by calling police about strangers hanging around people's homes and businesses. "Casing, I guess you could call it," he said.

Police say they support the group's Second Amendment rights. But one blogger says he'd feel better if the guns stayed at home and hopes wisdom and patience prevail if there's ever an armed encounter.

Police caught the man who shot Yamanashi but his accomplice is still out there. Yamanashi says if he comes across him, he's reaching for his cell phone. He says it's about neighbors being vigilant, not becoming vigilantes. "If I take the law into my own hands then that would be vigilantism. But, under the Second Amendment I have the right to basically patrol my neighborhood and carry a firearm for my own protection," he said. Yamanashi does not have a conceal-carry permit. He says even for members who do, their first action will be calling 911 if they see a problem.


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