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    1st and 2nd amendment rights

    1st and 2nd amendment rights

    Further, the “hybrid” First and Second Amendment right offers heightened constitutional protections when the government attempts to restrict. The Second Amendment, ratified in 1791, is one of 10 amendments that form the Bill of Rights. It establishes the right to bear arms and. Why is the U.S. First Amendment interpreted as a collective right and the Second Amendment as an individual one? I believed that all rights were vested in.
    1st and 2nd amendment rights
    1st and 2nd amendment rights

    The stakes in one of the most significant Second Amendment cases in U.S. history are high.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, expected by mid-2022, could declare a New York state restriction on carrying concealed handguns in public places unconstitutional.

    Such a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, which include a National Rifle Association affiliate, could loosen gun regulations in many parts of the country.

    In my view as a Second Amendment scholar, this case is also noteworthy in that how the court reaches its conclusion could affect the Second Amendment analysis of all weapons laws in the future.

    The court is set to hear oral arguments on Nov. 3.

    Long on the books

    In 1911, after an increase in homicides, New York instituted a handgun permitting system. In 1913, the permitting system was amended to address concealed carrying.

    For more than a century, someone seeking to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense in the state has needed to file a permit application showing that they have what the law calls “proper cause.”

    To obtain an unrestricted permit, applicants must “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community,” such as by showing they are being stalked.

    New York’s attorneys defend this restrictive approach to issuing concealed carry permits as an effective means to reduce gun violence. In 2020, there were 43,592 gun deaths in the United States, including suicides and homicides. There are also over 80,000 non-fatal firearm injuries each year.

    New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and its homicide rate is below the national average.

    The plaintiffs

    Robert Nash and Brandon Koch were denied unrestricted concealed carry permits because a judge determined that they did not satisfy New York’s proper-cause standard.

    Instead, Koch was issued a license to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense while traveling to and from work. Both plaintiffs’ licenses also permit them to carry concealed handguns for hunting and target practice, and for self-defense in areas not “frequented by the general public.”

    Along with the NRA’s New York affiliate, Nash and Koch contend that these limitations on their ability to carry a concealed handgun violate their right to bear arms. They assert a broad view of the right to carry a handgun, one that extends virtually “whenever and wherever” the need for self-defense might arise.

    New York’s law defies that conception of the Second Amendment.

    The Heller ruling’s muted effects

    In considering Bruen, the Supreme Court will focus on the meaning of an important precedent: District of Columbia v. Heller.

    When the Supreme Court issued its Heller ruling in 2008, a 5-4 majority struck down Washington, D.C.‘s ban on the possession of handguns in 1st and 2nd amendment rights home. The court held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

    Writing for the majority, the late Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the “central component” of the Second Amendment was not a “well regulated Militia,” but rather “the inherent right of self-defense.”

    But the majority’s decision included cautionary language that lower-court judges have since relied on to uphold gun laws.

    “The right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Scalia wrote. His opinion even contained a list of “presumptively lawful regulatory measures,” such as restrictions on the possession of firearms by felons or bans on carrying them in sensitive places like schools and government buildings.

    The NRA and other gun rights supporters have bristled at the general acceptance by judges of the constitutionality of laws restricting firearm use.

    That discontent culminated in Bruen.

    Older man in a short-sleeved dress shirt, tie and sun glasses with two thumbs up

    More and more states have allowed concealed handguns

    In 1980, most Americans lived in places that either banned concealed carry or had a New York-style “proper cause” permitting regime. An NRA push beginning in the late 1980s loosened public carry laws around the country.

    In states where gun rights advocates possess relatively little clout, they hope that Bruen will accomplish through the courts what they have failed to accomplish through the political process.

    Today, New York is one of eight states requiring that people seeking to carry concealed handguns have a “proper” or “good” cause. California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws on the books.

    If the court strikes down New York’s law, Americans in those states could expect an increase in the number of people legally carrying handguns in their communities. Anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun would have an easier time doing so.

    A 'text, history and tradition test’

    Bruen could also be a turning i will not die i ll wait here for you for how judges evaluate all Second Amendment cases – whether they’re about assault weapons, tasers or felon-in-possession offenses.

    Until now, judges have generally assessed whether such restrictions are justified by current public safety concerns.

    Many gun rights advocates are asking the Supreme Court to reject that approach. Instead, they want judges to decide cases on the sole basis of history and tradition unless the judiciary’s interpretation of the text of pokemon card store Second Amendment resolves the issue. This is known as the “text, history and tradition” test.

    Justice Brett Kavanaugh is credited with first articulating this test in a dissent he issued prior to his rise to the Supreme Court.

    Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett all have embraced similar judicial philosophies to some degree.

    But there’s a catch: Guns have always been regulated in America.

    New York’s regulation has been on the books for over a century and had a legacy that extended back even further.

    If the justices abandon a conventional approach for the text, history and tradition test, I would expect a new round of lawsuits over weapons laws that have already survived prior court challenges. Gun rights advocates would likely, for example, sue over restrictions on large-capacity magazines or safe storage requirements in places where those issues have already been resolved.

    This litigation would call on judges to rule on the sole basis of a difficult historical exercise: comparing modern laws addressing modern guns and contemporary gun violence to the laws, practices and weapons of a bygone era.

    Trump’s justices may tip the scales

    The court has three main options.

    It could uphold New York’s law. It could strike it down. Or it could find a middle ground, such as issuing a narrow ruling that punts big questions about gun restrictions down the road.

    Members of the Supreme Court in 2021, in their robes

    Chief Justice John 1st and 2nd amendment rights has steered his colleagues toward narrow rulings before. But he will hold little sway if the three justices former President Donald Trump appointed team up with Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, is coffee good for you when pregnant court’s two other conservatives, on a far-reaching majority opinion.

    Trump conferred with the NRA before nominating Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett – allofwhom received the gun group’s blessing.

    The ruling will underscore the significance of their presence on the court.

    [Understand what’s going on in Washington.Sign up for The Conversation’s Politics Weekly.]


    Guns, the NRA and the Second Amendment are under assault from the left

    In the midst of a challenging pandemic, many American cities have been under siege. Amid violence 1st and 2nd amendment rights riots, the rule of law has been abandoned by the same elected officials who swore to uphold it. Law-abiding citizens who unwittingly drove through protests have found themselves attacked or left to the mercy of a mob.

    Many Americans are indeed now choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights; a national indicator for gun sales is at an all-time high.

    The promotion of civil unrest and the systematic destruction of neighborhoods and businesses have been permitted with limited consequences under the guise of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to protest. Yet when the case for protecting the Second Amendment couldn’t be stronger to reasonable Americans, the left is yet again trying to weaken it.

    As Americans, our constitutional rights and individual liberties are not just a source of patriotic pride but the lifeblood of our democracy. The founders knew that the right of citizens to bear arms was essential to the preservation of democracy and liberty. The Second Amendment ensures that Americans can protect themselves, their families and their businesses, especially when the government is unwilling or unable to do so. And many Americans are indeed now choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights; a national indicator for gun sales is at an all-time high.


    The left has long attacked the Second Amendment, as they believe it is antiquated and unnecessary, and have assured us they can protect us better than we can protect ourselves. But in a time of crisis, many of them have revealed that they won’t actually use law enforcement and even support defunding the agencies that protect and serve all communities. Now they are attacking a private organization that’s trying to do the same.

    Just three months before a presidential election, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA and several members of its leadership, seeking to have the gun rights organization dissolved. This lawsuit, filed in New York state court, is the apex of a longstanding feud between the NRA and the Democratic state attorney general. James attacked the NRA while she was a candidate for attorney general, calling it a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.”

    James knows that if the NRA were dissolved, it would be a huge personal and political victory, as the Democrats would finally be able to silence the largest Second Amendment and gun safety advocate in the country. The NRA promotes responsible and safe firearm ownership and self-defense, and it encourages favorite pastimes like hunting and recreational shooting. That’s a staple of life for folks like us in Arkansas, and a far cry from James’ nefarious “terrorist organization” and “criminal enterprise” labels.

    As state attorneys general, we are tasked with protecting the interests of consumers and holding bad actors accountable. Since the NRA is based in New York, James’ office has the jurisdiction to investigate this organization, like any other charity or nonprofit. But while the lawsuit alleges that NRA leadership misused the organization’s funds for their own personal gain, no NRA executives have been charged with any crimes, though James has threatened criminal charges pending the outcome of her office’s investigation.


    Moreover, James doesn’t seem to be too worried about protecting the interests of the “consumer”: those who are NRA members. If successful, the lawsuit could permanently bar the strongest Second Amendment advocate from raising funds for its cause and ultimately dissolve the multimillion member organization. Instead of holding the alleged bad actors accountable, James seems to believe she has found a way to finally rid the left of one of its greatest political adversaries — and, possibly, its least favorite constitutional amendment.

    However, like any good defender of freedom, the NRA is fighting back. The same day New York filed its state suit, the NRA filed its own lawsuit in federal court, pointing to then-candidate James’ campaign promise to “take on the NRA” if elected. The NRA claims that James’ lawsuit is nothing more than a politically motivated stunt to deliver on that promise — not a response to any real fraud.

    The NRA’s lawsuit is based on the First Amendment eastern michigan mens basketball similar New York state law. The NRA argues that it is being targeted for its pro-Second Amendment advocacy and that James’ request to dissolve the NRA is nothing more than an attempt to silence political speech. The NRA is also asking the federal court to stop James from interfering with its free-speech rights and to declare that the NRA is in substantial compliance with New York not-for-profit law.

    As Americans, our constitutional rights and individual liberties are not just a source of patriotic pride but the lifeblood of our democracy.

    So, is this lawsuit really about the NRA, or does it represent a bigger agenda of the left? While the suit may be a great political rallying cry for James in New York and other liberal arenas heading into the November election, the rest of us see this lawsuit for what it truly is: a deliberate attack on the Second Amendment and those of us who support it.

    I understand the importance and duty of attorneys general to investigate allegations of corruption and fraud, but James’ eagerness to dissolve the entire organization rather than to hold potential bad actors accountable speaks volumes about her real motives. The left has worked tirelessly to rewrite history, but we will not and cannot allow it to try to rewrite the Constitution.

    Leslie Rutledge

    Leslie Rutledge is the first female and first Republican to be elected attorney general in Arkansas. A strong advocate for individual liberties, she defends those same constitutional rights deemed essential to the preservation of our democracy by the Founding Fathers.


    Free speech, gun rights on collision course in United States, some legal experts say

    (Reuters) - The robust American traditions of free speech and gun rights are clashing at anti-racism protests this year in a way rarely seen before in the United States, legal scholars and law enforcement leaders say.

    The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to free speech, and the Second the right to bear arms. But they are colliding in new ways, as “open carry” of guns to demonstrations becomes more common, officials at six police departments along with six legal scholars said.

    Some worry that U.S. democracy will suffer if guns intimidate would-be protesters from voicing their opinion.

    The gun culture and the exercise of free speech and assembly are “all competing in the same space,” said Timothy Zick, a law professor at the College of William & Mary who studies armed protests.

    Mostly peaceful mass protests in several U.S. cities for racial 1st and 2nd amendment rights following the May 25 death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police are sometimes being met by people with weapons.

    On Aug. 25, the issue came to a head when Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, used a rifle to kill demonstrators Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His lawyers say he acted in self-defense.

    In Portland, Oregon, Michael Reinoehl, 48, a self-described supporter of the far-left movement Antifa, was charged in the fatal Aug. 29 shooting of Aaron Danielson, 39, who was in a caravan of President Donald Trump’s supporters who clashed with anti-racism demonstrators. Reinoehl, wanted on a charge of murder, was shot dead last week in Olympia, Washington as police tried to arrest him.

    Zick and Gregory Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, are part of a group of scholars who are researching how the First and Second Amendments began to collide following a landmark 2008 Supreme Court ruling here. It struck down a Washington D.C. ban on private handguns, saying "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia," essentially giving every person the right to carry a gun.

    The Supreme Court may need decades to establish the parameters of that right, legal experts said. But in the meantime the clash of rights is “starting to produce a real body count,” Magarian said.


    For a century the Supreme Court has refined what the First Amendment actually guarantees to Americans in its decisions. In a landmark 1919 ruling, the country's highest court determined that speech that creates a "clear and present danger" to others is not protected, followed by a 1942 ruling that certain "fighting" words fall outside the protections of the First Amendment as well as others on what law enforcement owes public speakers.

    The 2008 gun ruling does not address a lot of real life situations, scholars say, including the specific question of whether carrying a gun in the open is a protected right.

    Pro-gun rights scholars and activists have long argued that the presence of weapons at protests does not intimidate free speech, but assures protection for voices that could be violently repressed if they were not armed.

    They say that armed volunteers protected non-violent Civil Rights era leaders and point out that Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956 applied for a concealed carry gun permit in Alabama, shortly after his house was bombed. His request was rejected.

    Black Lives Matter protesters also deserve the right to bear arms for protection, argues Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor whose writings defend gun rights.

    “Some may feel they can’t count on the police, the police might retreat at any time and that they need to defend themselves,” he said.

    Zick and Magarian acknowledge it is difficult to measure exactly how free speech is being chilled by public gun carriers. Firearms at contentious public political rallies may “inhibit people from coming out and speaking and participating and making their voices heard” in the first place, Magarian said.

    There is no First Amendment right to attend a gun-free protest, the legal experts said. Only under narrow, specific circumstances can guns be prohibited, such as on the grounds of some government buildings.


    Larry Satterwhite, the head of Homeland Security for the Houston Police Department whose job includes keeping local demonstrations safe, said that he’s seeing far more armed people at protests now than at any time in his three-decade career.

    Demonstrators openly carrying guns is an unwelcome headache for police, he said, making it more difficult to ensure any given protest is safe.

    Houston city ordinances forbid protesters from carrying metal rods or pipes at demonstrations, Satterwhite said, “yet you can bring a firearm. It seems a little counterintuitive to us as law enforcement officers.”

    He said some people had never carried a gun before “and suddenly they are carrying a gun to a volatile First Amendment activity where people are upset and highly emotional.”

    Officers repeatedly have to tell gun carriers at protests how to safely carry their weapon so that they are not inadvertently pointing it at officers, opposing protesters or their own group,” Satterwhite said.

    Kevin Robinson, a former assistant police chief in Phoenix and a professor of criminal justice at Arizona State University, said he was bewildered by the new phenomenon of citizens showing up at demonstrations heavily armed.

    “Police are right in the middle,” Robinson said.

    In Kenosha, Rittenhouse told a reporter for the Conservative website Daily Caller just before 1st and 2nd amendment rights shot and killed two people that it was his “job” to be armed in the streets.

    “So people are getting injured, and our job is to protect this business, and a part of my job is to also help people,” Rittenhouse said. He said he had a rifle to protect himself and a medical kit if he saw someone hurt.

    Other skirmishes between the First and Second Amendment have arisen in the 12 years since the 2008 Supreme Court ruling, such as fights over guns on college campuses. Some school officials argued here that the presence of weapons in classrooms inhibits academic freedom and truly free debate.

    Until recently, open carrying was mostly done by hunters, far from population centers, said Allison Anderman, senior counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence .

    “People were not going around with handguns on their hips to make a point,” she said.

    (This story has been refiled to insert dropped word “in” - paragraph 11).

    Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


    The Second Amendment & the Right to Bear Arms

    History of the Second Amendment 

    The Second Amendment provides U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. Ratified in December 1791, the amendment says:

    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.

    James Madison originally proposed the Second Amendment shortly after the Constitution was officially ratified as a way to provide more power to state militias, which today are considered the National Guard. It was deemed a compromise between Federalists — those who supported the Constitution as it was ratified — and the anti-Federalists — those who supported states having more power. Having just used guns and other arms to ward off the English, the amendment was originally created to give citizens the opportunity to fight back against a tyrannical federal government.

    Interpretations of the Second Amendment 

    Since its ratification, Americans have been arguing over the amendment's meaning and interpretation. One side interprets the amendment to mean it provides for collective rights, while the opposing view is that it provides individual rights.

    Those who take the collective side think the amendment gives each state the right to maintain and train formal militia units that can provide protection against an oppressive federal government. They argue the "well regulated militia" clause clearly means the right to bear arms should only be given to these organized groups. They believe this allows for only those in the official militia to carry guns legally, and say the federal government cannot abolish state militias.

    Those with the opposite viewpoint believe the amendment gives every citizen the right to own guns, free of federal regulations, to protect themselves in the face of danger. The individualists believe the amendment's militia clause was never meant to restrict each citizen's rights to bear arms.

    Both interpretations have helped shape the country's ongoing gun control debate. Those supporting an individual's right to own a gun, such as the National Rifle Association, argue that the 1st and 2nd amendment rights Amendment should give all citizens, not just members of a 1st and 2nd amendment rights, the right to own a gun. Those supporting stricter gun control, like the Brady Campaign, believe the Second Amendment isn't a blank check for anyone to own a gun. They feel that restrictions on firearms, such as who can have them, under what conditions, where they can be taken, and what types of firearms are available, are necessary.

    The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment 

    While the right to bear arms is regularly debated in the court of public opinion, it is the Supreme Court whose opinion matters most. Yet despite an ongoing public battle over gun ownership rights, until recent years the Supreme Court had said very little on the issue.

    One of the first rulings came in 1876 in U.S. v. Cruikshank. The case involved members of the Ku Klux Klan not allowing black citizens the right to standard freedoms, such as the right to assembly and the right to bear arms. As part of the ruling, the court said the right of each individual to bear arms was not granted under the Constitution. Ten years later, the court affirmed the ruling in Presser v. Illinois when it said that the Second Amendment only limited the federal government from prohibiting gun ownership, not the 1st and 2nd amendment rights Supreme Court took up the issue again in 1894 in Miller v. Texas. In this case, Dallas' Franklin Miller sued the state of Texas, arguing that despite state laws saying otherwise, he should have been able to carry a concealed weapon under Second Amendment protection. The court disagreed, saying the Second Amendment does not apply to state laws, like Texas' restrictions on carrying dangerous weapons.

    All three of the cases heard before 1900 cemented the court's opinion that the Bill of Rights, and specifically the Second Amendment, does not prohibit states from setting their own rules on gun ownership.

    Until recently, the Supreme Court hadn't ruled on the Second Amendment since U.S. v. Miller in 1939. In that case, Jack Miller and Frank Layton were arrested for carrying an unregistered sawed-off shotgun across state lines, which had been prohibited since the National Firearms Act was enacted five years earlier.  Miller argued that the National Firearms Act violated their rights under the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court disagreed, however, saying "in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

    It would be nearly 70 years before the court took up the issue again, this time in the District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. The case centered on Dick Heller, a licensed special police office in Washington, D.C., who challenged the nation's capital's handgun ban. For the first time, the Supreme Court ruled that despite state laws, individuals who were not part of a state militia did have the right to bear arms. As part of its ruling, the court wrote, "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-defense within the home."

    The court would rule on the issue again two years later as part of McDonald v. City of Chicago, which challenged the city's ban on private handgun ownership. In a similar 5-to-4 ruling, the court affirmed its decision in the Heller case, saying the Second Amendment "applies equally to the federal government and the states."

    In 2016, the Supreme Court again ruled on a right-to-bear-arms case, Caetano v. Massachusetts. The case involved a woman who was in possession of a stun gun for self-defense against an abusive ex-boyfriend. Because stun guns were illegal under Massachusetts law, the woman was arrested and convicted for possessing the weapon. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that stun guns and, indeed "all instruments that constitute bearable arms," are protected under the Second Amendment.

    In 2017, the Supreme Court declined to hear Peruta v. California, a gun-rights case centering around concealed carry, or the right to carry a concealed handgun in public. California requires that applicants for a concealed carry license show "good cause," such 1st and 2nd amendment rights a specific threat to a person's safety. A Vietnam veteran named Edward Peruta challenged this requirement as a curtailment of his Second Amendment rights. While Heller was a case about keeping firearms in the home for self-protection, Peruta v. California was about whether that right extends to the public sphere. Justice Clarence Thomas and new justice Neil Gorsuch dissented from the refusal to review the case, indicating that the Supreme Court's newest justice may be particularly conservative on gun rights.

    Meanwhile, the battle over gun rights continues at the state level. A 2016 working paper from Harvard Business School researchers found that a mass shooting leads to a 15 percent increase in the number of firearm-related bills introduced into the state legislature that year. The more fatalities, the larger the increase in firearm bills. But the bills aren't always what you might expect: When Republicans hold power in the state legislature after a mass shooting, the number of laws enacted to loosen gun restrictions goes up 75 percent. Democrat-controlled legislatures, on the other hand, did not enact a higher rate of regulation-tightening laws immediately after mass shootings than before.

    "This is consistent with survey evidence suggesting that even when a majority supports a gun-control proposal, those opposed to increased gun control are more likely to take actions like writing a letter or donating money to support their side," the researchers wrote.

    Despite the recent rulings, the debate on gun control continues. Incidents like those in Aurora, CO and Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT only serve as motivation for both sides to have their opinions heard and considered.


    Editor's Note: This reference article was first published on Jan. 22, 2013. It was updated with new cases and information on June 26, 2017.


    The Supreme Court's conservatives may have the votes to expand Second Amendment rights

    The court said it would decide when states may prevent people from carrying a concealed weapon outside the home for self-defense. This would be the first major Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
    Conservative justices' interest in expanding Second Amendment protection has been building for years. But they lacked sufficient votes -- at least five of the nine justices -- to follow through on that interest.
    The addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, succeeding the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last October, presumably changed that.
    This may be the first of several instances that the reconstituted court, with a 6-3 conservative-liberal majority, shows its muscle. Other similarly contentious issues touching on right-wing passions are headed toward the justices, for example, related to abortion rights and racial affirmative action in higher education.
    Yet there are additional factors that likely persuaded the justices to agree to hear the New York dispute they accepted on Monday. (The case -- New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett -- will be argued in the Supreme Court session that begins next October.) This new controversy tests a New York state law that requires applicants for a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to show they have "proper cause," that is, a special need for self-protection.
    Lower federal courts have increasingly divided on the how to interpret the reach of the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that first declared an individual right to firearms, rather than one related to organized state militia. That case, District of Columbia v. Heller, involved gun possession at home for self-defense, and judges have split on when people should be allowed to carry guns outside the home.
    Further, Monday's petition was brought by lawyer Paul Clement, a respected former US solicitor general under President George W. Bush who has been at the forefront of challenges to gun regulations for years.
    Clement shepherded a separate New York case in 2020 that became moot after the justices had agreed to hear it. The Supreme Court majority ended up dismissing the controversy because New York lifted its ban on transporting guns to firing ranges or second homes outside the city.
    Still, four justices expressed interest in hearing another dispute to clarify the reach of the Heller case: Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
    Thomas has voiced particular frustration at the high court's avoidance of Second Amendment cases over the years.
    "If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene," Thomas wrote in 2018. "But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the 2nd Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court."
    Yet, even with such frustration, the four conservatives who wanted to revisit the 2008 Heller case rejected a series of appeals from firearms advocates last summer.
    That's because it takes four votes to accept a case but five for a majority ruling. Sources told CNN last summer that the justices on the right did not believe they could count on a fifth vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative who has voted with justices on the left in certain contentious cases.
    Understanding John Roberts' surprising streak of liberal wins
    Understanding John Roberts' surprising streak of liberal wins03:16
    Roberts was in the majority for the justices 5-4 milestone ruling in Heller, which established individual gun rights. But the chief justice's signals during internal deliberations on firearms restrictions, sources told CNN, convinced his conservative brethren he would not likely cast a critical fifth vote to overturn gun regulations.
    In mid-June, the court rejected several challenges to state laws limiting the availability of guns and when they can be carried in public.
    Barrett's firearms record as a judge on the Chicago-based US appellate court appears more in line with Thomas and the other conservatives. A former law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the Heller landmark, Barrett has warned against treating "the Second Amendment as a second-class right."

    Interpreting Scalia's opinion

    In his petition, their lawyer Clement urged the justices to clarify when government may prohibit law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense.
    Clement said several regional US appeals courts have used the 2008 ruling on handguns in the home to uphold strict permitting 1st and 2nd amendment rights, while others have ruled that Heller's principles demand more lenient permitting for eligible citizens.
    "This conflict is . is not going away," Clement argued in his written filings, "and this case presents an ideal opportunity to resolve it. The decision below (in the New York dispute) is also manifestly wrong. In District of Columbia v. Heller, this Court made clear that the "core lawful purpose" of the Second Amendment is 'self-defense.' The need to defend oneself is hardly limited to the home; that is why the framers enshrined a right not only to 'keep' arms, but also to 'bear' them."
    The Second Amendment dictates: "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." Until the ruling in the 2008 Heller case, federal judges generally regarded the Second Amendment as covering state militia, such as National Guards, rather than shielding individual rights.
    Scalia, joined by four other conservatives, altered that view based on their interpretation that the 18th century Framers of the amendment understood the right to bear arms to cover private citizens.
    Yet, as he crafted an opinion the majority would sign, Scalia added caveats.
    "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited," 1st and 2nd amendment rights wrote, adding that tradition showed that "the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
    Scalia suggested some prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons could be upheld, as well as longstanding bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill and laws forbidding firearms in schools and government buildings.
    Lower court judges have clashed in their interpretations of how far such exceptions go.
    But no court, New York Attorney General Letitia James said as she urged the justices not to intervene in the new case, has upheld "a blanket prohibition on ordinary, law-abiding persons carrying firearms outside the home."
    She also contended the appellate court's decision affirming New York's longstanding licensing law was correct. "The law is consistent with the historical scope of the Second Amendment and directly advances New York's compelling interests in public safety and crime prevention," she said.
    Clement countered that the strict licensing laws essentially amount to prohibitions and insisted more fundamentally that judges are divided over the extent to which the right to bear arms even applies beyond the home.
    The greatest consensus among lower courts, he argued, is that they need guidance from the Supreme Court.
    And echoing a phrase from newest Barrett, Clement added: "Until this Court reinforces its precedents, lower courts will continue to treat the right to bear arms as a second-class right."

    US gun debate: Four dates that explain how we got here

    By Roland Hughes
    BBC News, Washington DC

    Image source, Getty Images

    It's one of the most divisive issues in American society, once again brought to the fore because of a deadly mass shooting.

    So what is the basis for the right to bear arms? And what key events have helped shape the debate?

    It makes sense to start with the date the Second Amendment to the US constitution was ratified. Here, 27 simple words set the path to gun ownership in the US.

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    The fact that the sentence does not make grammatical sense has only added fuel to the debate about what its true meaning is.

    Is the key part "a well regulated militia" - meaning that only people who belong to a militia should be armed? And if so, what constitutes a militia in the modern day? In 1791 it represented a group that armed itself against the British army.

    Is the key part instead "the people"? And if so, who are "the people"?

    It's clear which part of the amendment gun enthusiasts see as most relevant - a sign in the lobby of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Museums in Virginia cuts off the first 13 words and says only:

    The NRA today is a powerful pro-gun lobbying group that fiercely resists gun control efforts and says it has five million members.

    It wasn't always the case.

    The organisation was co-founded by a former New York Times reporter, William C Church, in 1871 to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis".

    It was set up by former Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War who had been shocked at the poor level of marksmanship of their fellow Union fighters compared with their Confederate rivals (its first president was Gen Ambrose Burnside, whose facial hair inspired the term "sideburns").

    Image source, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Much of its activity before the late 1970s involved hunting and organising shooting competitions.

    But a shift began to happen in the 1960s and 70s due in part to rising crime rates and a growing conservative movement, at the time the NRA was keen to move away from lobbying.

    "An increasing proportion of members were buying guns for self-protection," Adam Winkler writes in his book Gunfight: The Battle Over The Right To Bear Arms In America. "The leadership of the NRA didn't understand the importance of this shift and decided that the organization should recommit itself to hunting and recreational shooting."

    The result was that during the NRA's annual meeting in Ohio, more conservative elements of the group staged a surprise coup in what's become known as The Revolt in Cincinnati.

    They were led by Harlon Carter, the head 1st and 2nd amendment rights the NRA's lobbying arm who had once been jailed for shooting dead a Mexican teenager. After a fraught meeting that lasted until 04:00, the NRA's leadership was voted out and the group's new direction as a fierce opponent to gun control was set.

    What are an individual's rights?

    Image source, AFP/Getty Images

    One of the most significant recent developments in recent US gun law came thanks to a security guard in Washington DC.

    The district had some of the strictest gun control laws in the US, barring individuals from keeping a gun in the home. But Dick Heller wanted to be able to take his work gun home to the high-crime area in which he lived.

    His case - backed not by the NRA but by a group of libertarian lawyers - went all the way up to the US Supreme Court.

    The debate focused closely on what those 27 words in the Second Amendment meant in a 21st Century context. Is it OK for an individual to own a gun if they're not technically in a militia?

    Five of the justices thought the DC law should be struck down, and four dissented. A whole new interpretation of the Second Amendment was drawn.

    In his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: "There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms."

    "This is a great moment in American history," NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said after the ruling on 26 June 2008. "Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it."

    While gun sales had already been on the rise in the US for some time, they started to increase significantly in the wake of the DC vs Heller case - in the month the ruling was made, almost 820,000 FBI background checks were conducted; in the same month a year later, there were almost 970,000.

    It's worth noting though that the Supreme Court added some caveats.

    Justice Scalia wrote: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

    The court's opinion, he said, did not mean "longstanding prohibitions", such as "the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings" were now lifted.

    Only time will tell whether the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, is a true turning point in the debate about guns in the US.

    But it helped galvanise a new gun control movement driven by young people - one that is not necessarily calling for an end to guns, but for compromise and change.

    Students who survived the attack that killed 17 people have demanded an end to gun violence in schools.

    Their pleas helped bring about a federal ban on "bump stocks", modifications that enabled semi-automatic rifles to shoot more rounds per minute. And Parkland survivors continue to be some of the most prominent young voices for change on gun regulation.

    Other mass shootings have led to change in some states.

    After the killing of 26 people in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, some states enforced better background checks (the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, however, said more states loosened gun restrictions in the year after the attack).

    When 58 people were shot dead in Las Vegas in October 2017 - the worst mass shooting in modern US history - Massachusetts banned bump stocks.

    "In Newtown, the students were so young they couldn't stand up, but trust me - we are going to be the change," Parkland survivor Alex Wind told the BBC.

    More on this story


    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    BRI Resources

    What is the Significance of the Free Exercise Clause? 

    How has Speech Been Both Limited and Expanded, and How Does it Apply to You and Your School? 

    Amendment II

    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.

    BRI Resources

    What are the Origins and Interpretations of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms? 

    Amendment III

    No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time credit one app download war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    BRI Resources

    Liberty and Security in Modern Times

    Amendment V

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    BRI Resources

    How Does the Fifth Amendment Protect Property? 

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    BRI Resources

    Gideon v. Wainwright

    Amendment VII

    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    BRI Resources

    Due Process of Law 

    Amendment VIII

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    BRI Resources

    How Do Due Process Protections for the Accused Protect Us All?

    Amendment IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    BRI Resources

    What is the Scope of the Bill of Rights?

    Amendment X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    BRI Resources

    State and Local Governments

    The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. James Madison wrote the amendments, which list specific prohibitions on governmental power, in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. For example, the Founders saw the ability to speak and worship freely as a natural right protected by the First Amendment. Congress is prohibited from making laws establishing religion or abridging freedom of speech. The Fourth Amendment safeguards citizens’ right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in their homes through the requirement of a warrant.

    The Bill of Rights was strongly influenced by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason. Other precursors include English documents such as the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties.

    One of the many points of contention between Federalists, who advocated a strong national government, and Anti-Federalists, who wanted power to remain with state and local governments, was the Constitution’s lack of a bill of rights that would place specific limits on government power. Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.

    Madison, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, altered the Constitution’s text where he thought appropriate. However, several representatives, led by Roger Sherman, objected, saying that Congress had no authority to change the wording of the Constitution. Therefore, Madison’s changes were presented as a list of amendments that would follow Article VII.

    The House approved 17 amendments. Of these, the Senate approved 12, which were sent to the states for approval in August 1789. Ten amendments were approved (or ratified). Virginia’s legislature was the final state legislature to ratify the amendments, approving them on December 15, 1791.

    1st and 2nd amendment rights

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