Thursday, November 06, 2014

Alabama Amendment 3 Passes with 72 Percent of the Vote

One of the constitutional amendments up for a vote in 2014 was Amendment 3 in Alabama.  The amendment was intended to strengthen the already strong protection of the right to keep and bear arms in the Alabama Constitution.   The wording to be replaced seems clear:
Text of Section 26:
Right to Bear Arms
That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.[1][2]
But courts in some states have claimed that the right to bear arms in defense of self was, in fact quite limited, either to location, such as only in the home, or to circumstances, such as only when under immediate identifiable threat.   Other courts have said that such language is subject to low standards of judicial review, such as rational basis, or intermediate scrutiny, which allow legislatures to infringe on and limit rights that courts have deemed to be less than fundamental.

To prevent such judicial downgrading of what most Alabamians considered to be  a clear and fundamental right, Amendment 3 was designed to change the State Constitution to direct courts to treat the right as fundamental and to apply strict scrutiny as the correct judicial standard.

Opponents of the issue stated that the language was already clear, and that applying current judicial verbiage only opened the door to weakening of constitutional protections in the future.   Here is the wording of Amendment 3:
"(a) That every Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution."[4]
Alabama voters overwhelmingly accepted the intent to box in the judiciary with the language of Amendment 3.   It passed with over 72% of the vote.  With 98% of the precincts reporting, it had 72.5% of the vote.   The exact number will be available in a day or two.

Alabama follows on the heels of a Missouri amendment that passed with 61 percent of the vote, which continued the trend of Kansas and  Louisiana.   The Louisiana measure passed with 74% of the vote; the Kansas amendment passed with 88% .  Wisconsin was the last state to add an amendment, instead of strengthening an existing one.  The Wisconsin amendment passed in 1998 with 74% of the vote.    It is clear that legislators are listening to grassroots support of these efforts.

 ©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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1 comment:

Backwoods Engineer said...

This article is so good, and I'm in such a good mood after this passed, that I'll forgive you for calling us "Alabamans" instead of "Alabamians"!