Parker v. D.C. may be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Brady Campaign is worried. In the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared that the right to arms is an individual right, not limited to active-duty members of the militia, and that D.C.’s bans on handguns, and on having guns assembled and loaded at home, violate the Second Amendment.
The announcement by D.C. city officials that they are considering appealing to the Court has sent the Brady Campaign into panic mode. Brady president, Paul Helmke, blurted out that "The D.C. law is an easy one to shoot at. Factually, it’s a tougher one to get behind and defend. Why is this the one we’re going to be taking up to the Supremes?"
And now, on www.gunlawsuits.org, the Brady Campaign has launched a "rolling critique" of the Appeals Court decision, beginning with a preposterous attack on the court’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Miller (1939).
True to past form, Brady’s propaganda in this instance is a combination of lies, shameless spin-doctoring, and pointless and diversionary assertions. The gun-ban group claims "There is not a word to be found anywhere in the Miller opinion suggesting a right to possess arms outside of militia service." It’s an incredible claim, since Miller identified the militia as "civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion . . . .all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. . . . [who] when called for service…were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves."
The Brady Campaign is livid over the Parker statement that "The [Second] Amendment does not protect ‘the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,’ but rather ‘the right of the people’ [and, thus,] the ownership and use of weaponry beyond that needed to preserve the state militias." But the Parker decision is right. As it pointed out, in U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court declared that the right to arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence."
"The pre-existing right to keep and bear arms," the court in Parker went on to say, "was premised on the commonplace assumption that individuals would use them for these private purposes, in addition to whatever militia service they would be obligated to perform for the state. The premise that private arms would be used for self-defense agrees with Blackstone’s observation, which had influenced thinking in the American colonies, that the peoples’ right to arms was auxiliary to the natural right of self-preservation. The right of self-preservation, in turn, was understood as the right to defend oneself against attacks by lawless individuals, or, if absolutely necessary, to resist and throw off a tyrannical government."
D.C. has two more months to decide whether to appeal its loss to the Supreme Court. Stay tuned to future Alerts for further developments on this situation.