Re: Landmark Decision

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jun 26, 2008 10:32 AM
... And I might add that the speculation and "rumors on the internets" that Scalia would write the majority opinion was also correct.

Jon is correct.  Everyone ought to read the decision, which can be found here.

Following are some excerpts I just pulled regarding whether or not the intent was for the "people" to be able to bear arms, or just a "militia":

Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to “keep and bear Arms” in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as “the people.”

We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.

Scalia goes on to define what "arms" are:

The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.

And then he looks at the history of the period when the Constitution was written:

The phrase “keep arms” was not prevalent in the written documents of the founding period that we have found, but there are a few examples, all of which favor viewing the right to “keep Arms” as an individual right unconnected with militia service.

... 

From our review of founding-era sources, we conclude that this natural meaning was also the meaning that “bear arms” had in the 18th century. In numerous instances, “bear arms” was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia.