Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Second Amendment

Attorney General Ashcroft & The Second Amendment

Thursday, July 1, 2004

by Stephen P. Halbrook

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, explained U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, by letter dated May 17, 2001, to James Jay Baker, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. The Violence Policy Center, a lobbying organization which seeks to ban guns, has responded with a superficial attack entitled Shot Full of Holes: Deconstructing John Ashcroft's Second Amendment.

Click above to see and read General Ashcroft's Letter.

The VPC document combines flawed historical interpretation with hysteria, such as that Ashcroft's views would protect "armed career criminals" in their deadly pursuits. While the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and other Bill of Rights guarantees protect even criminals, no one disputes that such criminals have no right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, the Ashcroft Justice Department has launched a vigorous campaign -- absent in the Reno Department -- against felons who possess firearms.

On assuming office, Attorney General Ashcroft took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment. From the standpoint of legal ethics, it is admirable when prosecuting authorities candidly concede that they or their predecessors took an erroneous position regarding the law, for their duty is to see that justice is done, not to win cases at any price. Yet VPC has filed an ethics complaint against Ashcroft for expressing in good faith (and with persuasive documentation) an opinion about a provision of the Bill of Rights.


VPC purports to refute Ashcroft's two-page letter on the Second Amendment, but VPC's silence on the Constitution's text is deafening. The Second Amendment provides: "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." This "right of the people" is not limited, as VPC claims, to actual service in a state military force. The Framers knew how to limit a right to actual service -- the Fifth Amendment provides for indictment by grand jury "except in cases arising . . . in the militia, when in actual service . . . ."

TRENDING NOW
Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 by a 97-41 vote.

Ohio: Critical Self-Defense Law Takes Effect Today!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ohio: Critical Self-Defense Law Takes Effect Today!

Today, March 21, the provisions of the critical self-defense legislation, Sub. Senate Bill 199, go into effect.  Thanks to your active involvement last session, this bill was signed by Governor Kasich last December.  This law ...

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

The Illinois House of Representatives could consider House Bill 2354 at any time.

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Today, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 724, an anti-gun bill which undermines some of the key advancements made with the passage and enactment of House Bill 1249.  SB 724 is now headed to the ...

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

This week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed multiple pro-gun bills, including House Bill 1721, House Bill 2323, and House Bill 2322. 

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Tonight, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 198 into law.

Maryland: Pro-Carry Legislation Pending Final Vote on House Floor

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maryland: Pro-Carry Legislation Pending Final Vote on House Floor

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 on second reading.

Nevada: Senate Passes Anti-Gun SB 115

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nevada: Senate Passes Anti-Gun SB 115

Yesterday, March 21, the Senate passed anti-gun Senate Bill 115 with a 12-9 vote.  SB 115 was sent to the Assembly for further consideration.  Sponsored by state Senator Moises Denis (D-2), SB 115 would expand the list ...

Texas: Two Important Handgun Carry Bills to be Considered in Senate and House Next Week

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Texas: Two Important Handgun Carry Bills to be Considered in Senate and House Next Week

On Monday, March 27, the Texas Senate will convene after 2:00pm and is expected to take up and consider Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston).

Continuing to Fight in California

Friday, March 24, 2017

Continuing to Fight in California

We are excited to inform you of our new California specific webpage – Stand and Fight California.   On this page you will find State Legislation, Legal Updates, and How to Get Involved, among other California ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.