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HPL
11-07-2012, 02:23 AM
After the outcome tonight, I thought I would look up some info on the current Supremes. One of my inquiries led me to this:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZO.html#26ref.

It is a transcript of Justice Scalia's majority opinion in "District of Columbia vs. Heller". It is a long read, and there are many very interesting passages. I would recommend that anyone interested in the thinking behind the primary arguments for the individual right to keep and bear arms take an hour or so to read it. I am sure that I will read it several times to be sure that I understand it, but I have included three short passages that I find quite salient.

It is therefore entirely sensible that the Second Amendment (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-const?amendmentii) ’s prefatory clause announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia. The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right—unlike some other English rights—was codified in a written Constitution. Justice Breyer’s assertion that individual self-defense is merely a “subsidiary interest” of the right to keep and bear arms, see post, at 36, is profoundly mistaken. He bases that assertion solely upon the prologue—but that can only show that self-defense had little to do with the right’s codification; it was the central component of the right itself.


St. George Tucker’s version of Blackstone’s Commentaries, as we explained above, conceived of the Blackstonian arms right as necessary for self-defense...........................Tucker elaborated on theSecond Amendment (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-const?amendmentii) : “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty … . The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” (emphasis mine, HPL).

In addition, in a shorter 1840 work Story wrote: “One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms,.........................."