The DOJ softball didn't sit well with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. On Feb. 8, she filed an amicus brief on behalf of Heller and the exercise of his individual rights under the Second Amendment: "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."
In her lucid and detailed exposition, Hutchison accurately points out that the Framers never intended that the word "Militia" meant that the right to keep and bear arms was some kind of "collective" right that applied only to a particular group. If that had been their purpose, they would have been satisfied with Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution that gives Congress the power "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions."
To ensure that firearms possession was recognized by posterity as an "individual right," the Framers included it as part of the Bill of Rights -- an enumeration of every citizen's personal entitlements: free speech, freedom of religion, and a fair trial. The precise location of those famous words -- "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" -- provides strong evidence for the Founders' vision.
To foreclose any doubt where Congress comes down on the issue, Hutchison has introduced a bill to repeal the District of Columbia's ban on handguns; repeal registration requirements; and restore the ability of law-abiding citizens to keep a loaded, operable firearm in their homes. Doing less denies the meaning of the words "shall not be infringed."
Her argument was so persuasive that 54 additional senators and 250 members of the House of Representatives -- including 68 Democrats -- signed on. Vice President Dick Cheney -- apparently at odds with the administration's Department of Justice -- did so, as well. Let's hope the Supreme Court will agree with these enlightened members of Congress -- and Abraham Lincoln, who said, "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.