"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."
The clearest and most comprehensive statement ever made by the Executive Branch on the true meaning of the Second Amendment was recently released by the Justice Department. In a memorandum posted on their web site December 17, 2004, the Justice Department concludes without reservation that "the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to persons serving in organized militia units."
The opinion does not address the constitutionality of particular laws placing limits on the possession, carrying, or use of firearms. It does note that certain classes of people (felons, those addicted to drugs or alcohol) can be prohibited from owning firearms and that certain types of firearms can be regulated.
This memo, for its excellent research, adds much to Second Amendment scholarship. But its major impact will be on the courts — and the Department itself.
The memo calls current judicial opinions an "unsettled legal landscape," where no theory holds firm. Stephen Halbrook, respected Second Amendment litigator and historian, says of the memorandum, "It is a highly credible message to the courts, for it exhibits a depth of understanding about the Second Amendment that few jurists have ever attained, and should be persuasive in future decisions."
The Department of Justice defends federal firearms laws. When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment, it has flip-flopped. According to Mr. Halbrook, this monumental opinion "promises to keep the Department on the high road, for it is irrefutable in its analysis and its history." For gun owners now, and in the future, this is great news.
NRA is closed tomorrow, Christmas Eve. Also, due to the New Year`s holiday, next week`s Grassroots Alert will be transmitted on Thursday, December 30. Please have a safe and happy Christmas holiday!