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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 113 | WILLisms.com | Daily Schadenfreude »

Handgun Ownership Is A Privacy Right

Via Glenn Reynolds we find Mike O'Shea commenting on the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning the District of Columbia's handgun ban, if it grants certiorari in the case of Parker v. D.C. He points to what happens when leftist judicial activists worship some parts of the Constitution and competely ignore others:

"So the Constitution says Roe, but it doesn't say I have the right to keep a gun to defend my home, huh?"

Precisely. The Supreme Court called on the famous 'penumbras and emanations' of the Bill of Rights in order to craft a right to privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut, a case that laid the essential foundation for Roe v. Wade. Griswold concerned a Connecticut ban on the sale of condoms. The Court objected to this ban, saying essentially that reproductive rights are a 'life decision' that the state cannot infringe upon.

If the crux of privacy is the right of the individual to make important life decisions, then this reasoning must apply with equal force to self-defense. Self-defense is the ultimate 'life decision', concerning the most important among all inalienable rights, the right to self-defense.

Moreover, arms actually are mentioned by name in the Constitution, and given special status and protection by the Second Amendment. Combine this with the 'penumbras and emanations' of the Third and Fourth amendments - which confer special status upon the home and belongings of the individual - and a strong case can be made that gun ownership for protection of self, family and possessions is also an inalienable right guaranteed by the Constitution, and a much stronger right than privacy. After all, arms, persons, homes, papers and effects are all specifically mentioned by name as having some kind of special constitutional protection, whereas condoms, reproductive rights and privacy are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, the Federalist papers or other essential founding documents of the Republic.

It is ludicrous to believe that the Founding Fathers only envisioned gun ownership as a 'collective right'. That certainly wasn't how the founders lived their lives - Thomas Jefferson, for example, said that the best possible form of exercise is to walk with a brace of pistols. And the idea that the founders thought that all guns should be turned in to an armory until needed for collective use in a militia is equally laughable. That theory has absolutely no support in any of the views or writings of the men who wrote and approved of the Second Amendment. Only to leftist ACLU lawyers - who argue for the broadest possible interpretation of the First Amendment while hypocritically arguing the narrowest possible interpretation for the Second - does this view make any sense.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 19 July 2007 09:27 PM


At last.

Logic abounds.

Posted by: Daniel at July 19, 2007 11:29 PM

Remnants, arm yourselves.

Posted by: open_channel_d at July 20, 2007 01:22 AM

I was a member of the ACLU a long time ago, but not anymore. I won't ever give them another dime until they defend the entire Constitution, not just the parts that serve their narrow political views.

Posted by: Ogre at July 20, 2007 01:32 AM

Well put.

I've been a big fan of the argument that if the Constitution protects abortion rights, then recognizing individual gun rights should be the biggest no-brainer in the history of no-brainers.

Sadly, many on the Left actually have no brain, so we know that's not the case.

Posted by: Bruce at July 20, 2007 07:39 AM

How come the left thinks our govenment cannot find and deport 12 million illegal aliens, but it has the capicity to hunt down and confiscate 220 million firearms from our homes?

Da Bear

Posted by: Da Bear at July 20, 2007 08:56 AM

An Ayn Rand observation; "without property rights no other rights can be practiced". The freedom to use and dispose of material entities is at the very core of the concept. Guns, printing presses, broadcasting stations, churches all involve property. Abortions involve the right to use and dispose of your own body; unalienable until the child is no longer part of your body; absolute in that rights apply to all people at all times; non contradictory in that there are no rights to violate rights.

However close the constitution came to this it apparently was not close enough to prevent leftists from spewing penumbras.

Posted by: Glenn at July 20, 2007 08:56 AM

Da Bear has a real point there...

Posted by: zsa zsa at July 20, 2007 09:08 AM

Right on. This past semester I was siting in a Constitutional Law class when the topic of the Second Amendment came up. The prof went on and on about how, except for a few aberations, the courts have never seen the right to own a gun as a fundamental right so therefore it probably was not a fundamental right. I then asked if he would feel right applying this logic to racial segregation. He gave me a wonderful non-answer answer.

Later on he commented on how it was pretty crystal clear the the Constitution protected sodomy. I raised my hand and said; "So let me get this straight, guns are at least a grey area even though they are explicitly mentioned but the Constitution is clear as a bell on anal?"

The stunned silence was wonderful.

Posted by: WordBearer at July 20, 2007 10:08 AM

Brilliant analysis.

Posted by: Thomas Jackson at July 20, 2007 01:17 PM

Ayn Rand got the cart before the horse.

Property rights--and all the rights enumerated in the First Amendment--stem from the right so important it gets its very own amendment: keeping and bearing arms.

Great story, WordBearer.

Da Bear:

The problem is that many guns are registered, while illegal aliens aren't. Remember, the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans had their weapons confiscated by the police before Katrina hit, leaving them defenseless against the looters that came in Katrina's wake.

Posted by: Nathan Hale at July 20, 2007 10:06 PM

While the 2nd Amendment may prevent any restrictions on guns, I am constantly amazed at how guys are so attached to the firearms. It's clearly a metal phallus. For those who claim gun rights are important because owning them will stop the government from taking you away, you're kidding yourselves. If a SWAT team came after you, you can have all the pistols and rifles you'd like, but you'll still be defeated. If you really are worried about the government coming after you, the proper action would be to reduce the (para)military strength of the government. Guns are pea shooters compared to all the weapons (and tactical support items like helicopters) at the disposal of the government.

Posted by: Quiddity at July 21, 2007 03:49 AM

"I am constantly amazed at how guys are so attached to the firearms. It's clearly a metal phallus."

So...What's your point?
Most men I know like guns, football, and scratching directed at the itch. While women tend to like Michael Bolton, daytime TV, and jewelery.
The next time I am awaken at 3AM with someone in my back lot(four acres, chained link fenced, and moderately wooded) I will just grab my crank and threaten to piss all over them.

As for the government, utilizing SWAT and police forces to confiscate citizens firearms, just check out the aftermath of Katrina. Guns were taken from the remaining citizens after the NO police force looted the city and abandoned their posts. If we had a government, at all levels that enforced the laws and a judicial system that made people pay for violent crimes, the armed citizens of this country would not have to be so vigilant.

I think you have employed some rather cheesy logic.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at July 21, 2007 09:07 AM

Yeah, swords, guns, spears, and arrows are all pretty phallic weapons. Those tribes that used weapons based on breasts and vaginas didn't survive long, however. Go figure.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at July 21, 2007 02:46 PM


Nazi Germany declined to invade neutral Switzerland, yet invaded--and conquered--neutral Denmark. Why the difference?

The reason is simple: all Swiss men are required to own guns, and they know how to use them. The Nazi could have invaded, and would eventually have won--but at enormous cost. They figured the immense casualities they would sustain weren't worth it.

Admiral Yamamoto, who spent years in America, advised against launching an invasion because there is "a rifle behind every blade of grass." He knew that even if the Japanese forces got through a military defense, they could never survive the counterattack that the citizenry would make.

Weapons in the hands of We The People are our surest defense against foreign invasion and domestic tyranny.

However, you have a very good point: the police and the military should provide two separate, and distinct, services. Militarizing the police blurs what should be a very clear demarcation.

Use the right tool for the job: you don't hammer nails with a screwdriver. SWAT teams have no place on a police force, and our Soldiers and Marines shouldn't be engaged in police actions or otherwise "keeping the peace."

Posted by: Nathan Hale at July 21, 2007 08:08 PM