1997-05-07 - Constitutional basis for RTKBA?

Header Data

From: Thomas Porter <txporter@mindspring.com>
To: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
Message Hash: 5cbaacfbd8008894adf517465b9b21b02a6166caabc8f6d490a8ccaafebd1850
Message ID: <>
Reply To: <199705051842.LAA21649@krypton.chromatic.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-07 18:34:11 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 02:34:11 +0800

Raw message

From: Thomas Porter <txporter@mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 02:34:11 +0800
To: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
Subject: Constitutional basis for RTKBA?
In-Reply-To: <199705051842.LAA21649@krypton.chromatic.com>
Message-ID: <>
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At 09:43 PM 5/5/97 -0700, Kent Crispin thoughtfully expounded thus:

>I have heard, from a knowledgable person, that the reason that the NRA
>has not pressed a constitutional challenge is that their lawyers tell
>them that the historical context clearly indicates that the second
>amendment does *not* protect individual ownership of firearms, and
>that a constitutional challenge would almost certainly lose.  Hence
>the NRA resorts to lobbying.  That is, it is not a matter of 
>Roosevelt scaring the judges, but a matter of the clear intent of the 

I suppose one can quibble on this, but I do not think this is the case.

It _is_ possible that precedent and the accumulation of rulings would not
support an individual right to bear arms, but from a strict constitutional
POV, as well as the historical record of quotations by the Founding Fathers
and associated writings, it is very clear that the second amendment was
specifically written to protect the individual RTKBA in order to resist the
establishment of a tyrannical government.

One of the best reviews of this is:

The Embarassing Second Amendment by Sanford Levinson, Yale Law Journal
Volume 99, pp 637-659 (1989)

Tom Porter                                       txporter@mindspring.com
   "I do believe that where there is a choice only between cowardice and
    violence, I would advise violence." Mahatma Gandhi