Justice Scalia's death provides Obama opportunity to overturn Second Amendment ruling

Amidst the excitement from many about the opportunity to elect the first black President in 2008, and amidst many gun owners' decision to sit out the 2012 election due to the sketchy record of Mitt Romney on guns, there were loud warnings from groups like Buckeye Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association that an Obama presidency could mean the end of the Second Amendment.

Those warnings, which were labeled at best as exaggeration, and at worst as extremist, were based on the spectre of Obama being given the opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court justice during his time in office.

Now, just 10 months before he exits, the lame duck president will be given that very opportunity.

Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the majority 5-4 opinion in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case which recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, is dead, and the fact that a majority of justices on the Supreme Court recognize that individual right to bear arms died with him.

From Breitbart.com:

In [the Heller] opinion, Scalia showed how phrases that appear in the Bill of Rights again and again share a common meaning, and that references in one amendment match references in others, whether or not the phrase is explicitly or loosely stated.

For example, the phrase “right of the people,” which explicitly appears in the First and Second Amendments, and is loosely expressed in the Ninth Amendment, shares a context that refers to individual rights in every occurrence. “All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body,” Scalia wrote.

In other words, just as the “right of the people” to assemble in the First Amendment is an individual right, so is the “right to keep and bear arms” in the Second Amendment and the rights not enumerated but protected by the Ninth Amendment.

The article goes on to note that this is very different from the liberal or progressive approach, where the rights protected by the Second Amendment are viewed as collective, and therefore exist only under certain conditions — for example, the right to own guns exists only for those serving in a government-run militia — and can therefore be expanded, narrowed, or barred by government with impunity.

Again, from Breitbart:

With Scalia’s death, the nine-justice SCOTUS is evenly divided our to four on whether the second amendment is a individual or collective right. Scalia’s replacement will either maintain the work he did to defend these rights as individual, or will declare those individual rights as collective rights, thereby gutting the Second Amendment.

Any guesses as to which viewpoint Obama's appointment to the lifetime position will hold?

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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