by Jeff Knox, Ammoland:
The Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has once again come down with a shameful ruling based on selective interpretation of the Supreme Court’s narrow rulings in Heller and McDonald, the landmark Second Amendment cases decided in 2008 and 2010.
In this latest abomination from the courts, the three-judge panel concluded that New York and Connecticut’s laws banning virtually all semi-auto rifles as “assault weapons” and all “high-capacity” magazines, do indeed “burden” and infringe on citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment, but they go on to conclude that the states’ “compelling governmental interest in public safety and crime prevention” carry greater weight than individuals’ rights to self-defense – in spite of the fact that “assault weapons” are rarely used in crime, when they are, it is unusual for more than a few shots to be fired, and laws restricting them and “high-capacity” magazines have proven useless in practical application.
Conspicuously missing from the court’s reasoning was any reference to the militia or to the previous, primary Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment, US v. Miller.
The Second Amendment is composed of two clauses, the prefatory clause; “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” and the operative clause “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In Miller, the Court commented that this militia relationship had to be considered in any judgement regarding the right to arms. They went on to conclude that, since they weren’t aware of a short-barreled shotgun being a normal part of militia equipment, that such an arm was not protected under the Second Amendment.
For almost 60 years after the 1939 Miller decision, lower courts misused the “militia” comment to mean that the right to arms only applied to people actively enrolled in a government-sanctioned militia. Had that been the Justices intent, Miller’s claim would have been rejected because he was not a militia member. Instead, his claim was rejected because his gun, a sawed-off shotgun, was not recognized as a common militia weapon.
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