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WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court overturned the District of Columbia's long-standing handgun ban Friday, rejecting the city's argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias.
In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent" on enrollment in a militia.
The ban on owning handguns went into effect in 1976.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also threw out the district's requirement that registered firearms be kept unloaded, disassembled and under trigger lock.
In 2004, a lower-court judge told six city residents that they did not have a constitutional right to own handguns. The plaintiffs include residents of high-crime neighborhoods who wanted the guns for protection.
"The district's definition of the militia is just too narrow," Judge Laurence Silberman wrote for the majority Friday. "There are too many instances of 'bear arms' indicating private use to conclude that the drafters intended only a military sense."
As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.
-- Jeff Snyder
Probably fewer than 2% of handguns and well under 1% of all guns will ever be involved in a violent crime.Thus, the problem of criminal gun violence is concentrated within a very small subset of gun owners, indicating that gun control aimed at the general population faces a serious needle-in-the-haystack problem.
When only cops have guns, it's called a "police state".
Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
-- James Madison, The Federalist Papers
"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms."
Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840
"To disarm the people... was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
-- George Mason, speech of June 14, 1788
The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.
-- Adolph Hitler, April 11 1942
That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United states who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms...
-- Samuel Adams, in "Phila. Independent Gazetteer", August 20, 1789
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. [...] the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
-- Hubert H. Humphrey, 1960
Originally posted by XphilesPhan
I like this one so much that I use it as my signature:
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" - Thomas Jefferson