Blog of Rights

⬅ Return to Heller Decision and the Second Amendment

  1. BCR-SHoRTY Says:

    'Collectivism' is a Socialist Term...it hasn't any place in the Founding Father Documents nor in The Bill of Rights of Individuals fighting for civil rights that protects from those enemies or powers that are controlled by a tyrannical centralized Government, such as Russia's. 'Collectivism' is a relative new 20th Century term born from Socialism & Marxism.

    But since many of the founding ACLU members were members of the American Communist Party. And formed the ACLU for protection from the US Government I can understand how 'Collectivism' is a major mindset with those that seek to undermine the very individual rights that give them freedom.

  2. David Says:

    I was always under the impression the ACLU was meant to support and defend our rights....not decide them for us.
    How very selective of the ACLU.

  3. mblat Says:

    I have to say.... I am no lawyer.... but I can read.
    And as far as I understand what I have read NOT ONE SINGLE SCOTUS judge agrees with your position that 2nd is "collective right".
    I have to say - way to discredit yourselves...

  4. S.S. Says:

    The ACLU is showing their true colors by denying the supreme, and recently re-emphasized, law of the land. They are your friend as long as you don't show them any teeth.

  5. Doug C. Says:

    Some people can’t seem to read or comprehend the Second Amendment. The part about “Militias” is double edged. The government (Federal) can’t stop the states from having Militias but to protect the states THEY can control large groups of armed men so they can regulate them. Simple as that.

    The second part is clear that that “regulation” shouldn’t interfere with the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.

    The part that everyone discusses but isn’t in the Amendment is the right of self defense. It’s clear from the writings of the Founders that the right to defend yourself is so clear that they didn’t think it needed to be spelled out.

    It’s also that the “regulation” of Militias shows they mean to protect the “public” in general from uncontrolled threats so unfettered access to SCUD rockets, Stinger antiaircraft missiles or hand grenades isn’t in the public interest. That can be regulated.

    Isn’t it amazing how smart those old dead white guys who wrote the Constitution were?

  6. Craig Says:

    Since when it is the job of the ACLU to take the side of the restrictive efforts of the government, against the SUPREME COURT-RECOGNIZED civil liberties of the individual citizenry?

    Your illogical stance on the 2nd Amendment places you on a collision course with the basic principles of your charter! Wake up!

  7. Carter Says:

    I appreciate the ACLU for standing up for the civil liberties they do for every group or person, despite their politics or ideology. The leadership is tarnishing that record on this one by advocating, possibly for the first time, a restriction on a civil liberty, in possibly a political manner.

    The previous statement on the second amendment was a bit different and qualified and things must have changed after Heller.
    http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14523res20020304.html

  8. rfdancer Says:

    (Hands held over ears)La, la, la, la, la, I'm not listening.

    That, in my mind, describes the ACLU position on Heller and the 2nd amendment. It's hard to believe any organization that holds itself out to be made up of professionls could behave in such a childish and immature manner, not to mention what appears to be a case of poor sportsmanship on the part of a bunch of loosers.

  9. Thomas Hayfield Says:

    Dear ACLU,
    As a concerned defender of the Top 10 in the Constitution I'm concerned about number three and the statement which always seems to me to cover the other intrusions. Why doesn't government intrusions into our houses get interpreted as quartering of troops in our houses without our permission. Why has this Amendment never been seen as being violated by the NUMEROUS intrusions into our electronic communications. In my house, I'm ALWAYS aware that BIG BROTHER--BIG BROTHER THE INTRUDER-- is in the area. Big Brother would never be stupid enough to quaintly quarter a military unit in your apartment. They, however, have achieved a similar level of intrusion by electronic means. If they only knew the backlash against such intrusions. Nary a voter in this country is unaware of the assault on our senses by the politicos. They dare us to turn down the craziness on the tube. The 3rd Amendment has to be the next battlefield for defending our peace of mind. I'll help fight that battle with or without a gun which is just a silly battle that should always be up to local jurisdictions anyway. End of controversy. I really never thought there was a controversy worthy of Supreme Court attention anyway.

  10. Kyle H Says:

    I have always considered it my civil responsibility to defend myself when attacked.

    I have always considered it my civil liberty to learn how to do so, and carry the tools necessary to do so.

    Without some guidance on why the ACLU's position endorses removing that liberty, I must question the "union" that the ACLU claims to represent, because it certainly doesn't include me.

  11. Cincinnati Says:

    As he said above. I just took the money I had slated to re-up my ACLU membership and used it to re-up my NRA membership AND my Ohio CCW application.

    Sorry ACLU you lost me as well.

  12. cableman Says:

    The ACLU is a joke!!!! Point blank. The ACLU is not concerned about if the rights of a person is "individual" or "collective" but how much money they can get from one group to front their kind of SOCIAL injustice. So who cares if the SCOTUS made the ruling that the Second Amendment is an Individual right like all the rights in the Bill of Rights.

    Hey ACLU take a leap of a short peer!!!!!!

  13. Xrlq Says:

    Even if there were any basis for describing the Second Amendment as a "collective right," a view that most legal scholars and all nine Supreme Court Justices have rightly rejected, such a "right" would be meaningless without a strong individual component enforceable by individuals. No one individual has a right to determine an election or the ability to "peaceably assemble" on his own, so if any constitutional rights can truly be described as "collective," it would be those two. Imagine a Kafkaesque world in which "the people" purportedly enjoy these cherished rights collectively, but no individual has an enforceable right to cast his individual ballot or come to the assembly. What on earth would this "collective right" protect?

    Your organization's reliance on such sophistry with an eye to literally decimate the Bill of Rights, first by dishonestly pretending to "agree" with a cryptic 70-year old ruling that said no such thing, and now by openly disagreeing with the Supreme Court for unanimously endorsing a view that an overwhelming majority of Americans has taken for granted all along, is proof positive that you are not now, nor have you ever been, a civil liberties union.

  14. Dean J Says:

    I find it harder and harder to justify giving your organization my money, if you're going to spend it shooting down my other civil liberties.

  15. Tucker Says:

    After this statement regarding the 2nd by he ACLU, their right to exist as a org. should be denied.

    Your political agenda is showing.

  16. Byron Dickens Says:

    Earth to ACLU: The Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means. Grade-school grammar led them to reach the only logical conclusion they could. Any Fifth-Grader knows that in a complex sentence the clause that can stand on its own as a complete sentence is the main thought. Remedial grammar may be in order for you.

    How is it that the phrase "the people" elsewhere in the Constitution refers to you and me, but in the Second Amendment - and only in the Second Amendment - it refers to the state?

    I guess there's some truth to the old joke, "How does the ACLU count to ten? 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10."

  17. Joe Cool Says:

    Shame on you ACLU - the one amendment put in place to be able to defend all the others is the one you shun and pretend doesn't mean what it says, what most people think and what the Supreme Court has now said it means. The Bill of Rights applies to all individuals and all rights. Your stance is illogical and smacks of an agenda that is Socialist as opposed to Libertarian. Try changing your name to the ASU - American Socialist Union - because that's what it appears your agenda is all about.

  18. OCSooters-com Says:

    So when SCOTUS said: "but what is
    not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct." they are wrong and the ACLU has decided to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct. I was wondering; did you take a vote of the members, some type of lawyer poll or in some other way try to find out how all of your members feel or did you just get a few phone calls from some of the anti-gun foundations and George Soros telling you that if you started taking gun cases they would drop your funding?

    You need to change your name to American Some Civil Liberties Union

  19. everallm Says:

    The ACLU's mission statement is and I quote..

    The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.

    Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.

    The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

    It is therefore ACLU's avowed intent to support the Bill of Rights in it's entirety and not as a pick 'n mix buffet.

    The BoR addresses the inalienable and inherent rights of individuals and the Second Amendment remains one of them.

    Consider the historically shameful and odious race and gender based basis of firearms controls.

    Firearms law were, in the main, created to disarm and oppress people of colour and the economically disadvantaged.

    I find it incomprehensible that the ACLU not only does not support the 2nd Amendment but interprets the constitution in such a racist manner.

  20. Spark21 Says:

    American Civil Liberties Union - now farther from reality, yet closer to the Union's founders intent...the path to Collectivism.

  21. Informed Surf Says:

    ACLU: Stop!!! No...the world is flat!!! Go neither east nor west via thine ship. Surely thine arse shall fall o'er the edge of the earth!! Come hither surf!!! Oh bloody fuck! Let them eat cake!

    ACLU Supporter: But Sir, they shall fall off the earth and die a bloody, gruesome, horrible and miserable death!!!

    ACLU: Bloody fool! The world isn't flat...we just say that so people will not leave. If all the bloody fools left, who would we control?! Fear and ignorance are all we have left!

    ACLU Supporter: Bloody brilliant. Observe the facts, and deny their existence by playing on people's collective fears! Bloody brilliant!! Now I see why thine wife calls you the “impotent one”!

    ACLU: Omnipotent, fool, not impotent!

    ACLU supporter: Oh no, sir…she said “impotent”. She was quite clear. She said she wished you could fuck her like you fuck with people’s rights!

  22. L Says:

    I used to be a member of ACLU. A few years ago I let my membership lapse because of their position on the 2nd amendment. It looks like it will be a long time before I send the ACLU any more money.

    By the way, ALL NINE of the SCOTUS judges agreed that it is an INDIVIDUAL right. That's right, even the four dissenters said it is an individual right.

  23. contributor Says:

    Because of this ridiculous policy, I will be withdrawing from the guardians of liberty monthly contribution program. You can't pick and choose which rights you are going to support. As long as your head is buried in the sand, you won't see any of my money.

  24. Adam Says:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the ACLU stand for "American Civil Liberties Union". Which unless I'm mistaken would strive to defend the constitution and amendments. Or more realistically in this case defend which ones fit your agenda.

    Not recognizing the ruling of the Supreme Court flies in the face of one of this countries basic principles, and frankly since just about everyone already "knew" that the 2nd was an individual right, your position is just childish.

    Perhaps you should just defend the rights you want to defend and have no opinion on the other ones. And when the time comes, I'll renew my NRA membership.

  25. Lysander Says:

    The ACLU was wrong, is wrong, and now defiantly trumpets it will continue to be wrong.

    Given that setup:

    (1) Why does the ACLU persist in stating it supports individual rights?

    (2) What else is the ACLU patently wrong about that it won't admit?

    (3) Why should patently wrong behavior be supported, by word, deeds, or funds?

  26. arthur Says:

    Effective family planning being economically advantageous to the republic, the right of the people to obtain abortions shall not be abridged.

    Now if an amendment said that, do you think the aclu would say that is an "absolute, individual right" to obtain an abortion?

    As usual, the aclu only supports those rights that agree with its agenda.

    Anyway, I think I will go out and celebrate Independence day by ordering a new semi automatic pistol.

  27. Turk Turon Says:

    Before Heller, the ACLU had a principled neutral stand on the Second Amendment. Namely, that the ACLU was unable to articulate a civil-liberty rationale for supporting the 2A. OK, fair enough; I disagree but I understand.

    Now, though, the ACLU has actually expressed OPPOSITION to the 2A. This is a dramatic change in policy and should only be addressed by the Board. You should withdraw this statement of opposition to the Heller decision until the full Board can address the matter.

    I joined the ACLU with the expectation that it was an organization that supported ALL of the Articles of the Bill of Rights, not just those that the Left finds congenial.

    You have defended Nazis and the KKK, but you draw the line at the NRA? That is indefensible!

  28. Douglas Says:

    The ACLU's position of the 2nd amendment has consistently shown that this organization pick and chooses which liberties it wants to defend, and those which it wants to bury.

    The ACLU is more interested in social engineering, instead of preserving individual liberties. This recent Heller opinion simply confirms many people's long held belief.

    Just out of curiousity, which other rights preserved by the constitution are "collective?"

  29. jorb Says:

    Your position regarding the SCOTUS decision on the 2nd seems at odds with
    your stated reason for your existance.

  30. bigbasscat Says:

    All things being equal, I'll take being a member of a Second Amendment rights group with no protection or recognition from the ACLU over being a member of NAMBLA with ACLU protection & recognition.

    The ACLU has rightly sought to protect Civil Rights, but has always taken the position that the Second Amendment and it's place in the Bill of Rights doesn't really add up - it's a collective rather than individual right (as other posters hae noted, ALL the Amendments in the B.o.R. refer to individual rights) and now that the Supreme Court has finally ruled on the side of individual Second Amendment rights, the ACLU cries "foul" - shame on you!

  31. wjph2624 Says:

    I think all of the commenters on this blog, by kool-aid drinking ACLU staff, Suzzane Ito, got it right. If the ACLU can't find the individual right to keep and bear arms in the 2nd ammendment, then they are just typical delusional leftists. To them it seems that the right to self defense, a basic human right, is not one that an individual posseses. They have no trouble finding all types of elaborate "rights" that don't even exist in the constitution and labeling them as "constitutional rights" so matter of factly. Their proclaimed "constitutional right" to kill an unborn human is just one of their fascist stances. Its about time people realize that the ACLU and their logically blind and brainwashed follwers oppose the bill of rights and later individual rights ammendments. Because they don't see them going away any time soon, they have decided to twist them to use them for their extremist anti-freedom agendas to achieve rights for foreign enemies (terrorists), scumbag criminals (child rapists, murderers, etc.), illegal alien criminals, and for "doctors" that kill babies. But if your not a fanatical Muslim, illegal alien, sadistic pedophile, rapist or murderer, then your rights are thrown to the wolves. Look at the torture imposed on Terri Schaivo by their beloved leftist courts, against her will, that inflicted her with severe pain for two weeks before killing her. It was sanctioned by the ACLU because Terri had the "right to die" according to those fascists. If only Terri was some sicko serial killer threatened with painless lethal injection death, she would have had the full resources of the ACLU working to save her life. I challenge ANYBODY from the ACLU to e-mail me and tell me I'm wrong and why. They've never taken me up on this before because they are WRONG and they don't care for the truth.

  32. Navyboy Says:

    I have always thought that the ACLU’s stated position on the Second Amendment was based on hypocrisy. To claim to champion the Bill of Rights and then just ignore the amendment you dislike is sad and pathetic.

    Previously the ACLU could at least pretend to base its stance on Miller. Now the curtain is parted and the truth is revealed. If the ACLU is going to pick and choose from the Bill of Rights, then what little credibility they held is gone.

  33. wjph2624 Says:

    I think all of the commenters on this blog, by kool-aid drinking ACLU staff, Suzzane Ito, got it right. If the ACLU can't find the individual right to keep and bear arms in the 2nd ammendment, then they are just typical delusional leftists. To them it seems that the right to self defense, a basic human right, is not one that an individual posseses. They have no trouble finding all types of elaborate "rights" that don't even exist in the constitution and labeling them as "constitutional rights" so matter of factly. Their proclaimed "constitutional right" to kill an unborn human is just one of their fascist stances. Its about time people realize that the ACLU and their logically blind and brainwashed follwers oppose the bill of rights and later individual rights ammendments. Because they don't see them going away any time soon, they have decided to twist them to use them for their extremist anti-freedom agendas to achieve rights for foreign enemies (terrorists), scumbag criminals (child rapists, murderers, etc.), illegal alien criminals, and for "doctors" that kill babies. But if your not a fanatical Muslim, illegal alien, sadistic pedophile, rapist or murderer, then your rights are thrown to the wolves. Look at the torture imposed on Terri Schaivo by their beloved leftist courts, against her will, that inflicted her with severe pain for two weeks before killing her. It was sanctioned by the ACLU because Terri had the "right to die" according to those fascists. If only Terri was some sicko serial killer threatened with painless lethal injection death, she would have had the full resources of the ACLU working to save her life. I challenge ANYBODY from the ACLU to e-mail me and tell me I'm wrong and why. They've never taken me up on this before because they are WRONG and they don't care for the truth. Email is mrmackey797@comcast.net

  34. AntiCitizenOne Says:

    Hmph. I didn't know the ACLU liked to cherry pick it's favorite amendments.

    Some "defender" of constitutional freedom you are.

  35. Emil Dular Says:

    The ACLU's position on the 2nd Amendment, before or after "Heller" should come as NO surprise. After all, a BIG chunck of their funding comes from the Joyce Foundation. You won't see them give up their lattes or limos over something as insignificant as principles.

  36. Chris Says:

    Hello,

    I am conflicted about the ACLU's position on the Heller case. In the past, I donated to the NRA to protect my individual Second Amendment rights and to the ACLU for everything else. I personally would like the assurance that none of my donations to the ACLU will result in opposition to "the ancient right of self-defense" inherent in the individual right to keep and bear arms before I consider making any further contributions. I think you will have to rely solely on your more politically correct and orthodox donors until then. Sorry.

  37. Carl in Chicago Says:

    These are some strong and serious criticisms leveled at the ACLU.

    It's abundantly clear that the ACLU's position on the 2A, especially now, defies logic and defies their core mission. Post-Heller, their position on the 2A cannot be reconciled with their core mission. This represents a SERIOUS conundrum for the ACLU.

    ACLU simply must realize that something has got to give. They either acknowledge the 2A as protecting an individual civil right, or they fundamentally restructure their core mission.

    I cannot help but think there must be (at least) a few on their Board of Directors who will save the organization from the intense embarassment, criticism, and eventual irrelevancy that would result from this current hypocracy. I predict that the ACLU will, just as Sanford Levinson did, eventually accept that "embarassing second amendment" as a meaningful individual civil right, and make it fit within their longstanding core mission.

  38. Gregory Morris Says:

    I have to agree with SuperNaut, as well as numerous liberty-minded bloggers. As much as I appreciate all the good work the ACLU has done over the years, I cannot fathom _financially_ supporting an organization who is this hypocritical. The ACLU cannot claim to promote and protect all of my rights, then choose which rights I am worthy of.

    Should the ACLU's position on the Second Amendment be changed to sync up with reality, I will happily put an ACLU card in my wallet next to my NRA card.

  39. K-Romulus Says:

    Most unfortunate to hear of the ACLU's stance. For the past eight years I have been donating money to the ACLU above the basic annual membership dues. Now that money will go to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the division pursuing litigation to enforce the Second Amendment. Previously, my ACLU extra donations matched my NRA life membership installment payments ($100/year, have the checkbook entries to prove it). Now $200/year will go to the NRA. Nice job ACLU! Your action is the equivalent of saying Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided because the 4th Amendment protection from "unreasonable search and seizure" is a "collective right" and protects no individual zone of privacy.

  40. Texas Jack Says:

    One more proof that ACLU = Anti Christian Liars Union. You have become an enemy of everything true and good in this country.

  41. Michael Says:

    I have been a supporter of the ACLU for over 20 years. I have been a member, provided financial support and have repeatedly explained the importance of many of it's controversial legal defense activities as protecting ALL the rights of the people of the United States regardless of the individual repulsive positions of the people it defended.

    The SCOTUS has now clearly stated the 2nd Amendment is an individual and not a collective right. Until the ACLU officially supports the individual right interpretation of the 2nd Amendment I will no longer provide financial or moral support to this organization.

    All the individual rights guaranteed by the BOR should be supported by the ACLU or none of my support will go to the ACLU.

  42. Chris Says:

    If the ACLU cannot - and will not - abide by settled law in this case, what possible credibility does it have? You've undermined your entire mission with this ill-considered statement.

    I, like so many others, will find other organizations more deserving of my financial support.

  43. Ross in MA Says:

    Why don't you folks just change your name to the "Civil Liberties We Approve Of Union"? It would be more accurate. You certainly don't represent the majority of Americans.

  44. Brett Bellmore Says:

    Face it, ACLU: The days of plausible deniablity are gone. Miller's confusing language gave you some cover, Heller stripped it away.

    You either accept that the 2nd amendment guarantees an individual right, or stand revealed as, not a neutral in this fight, but an *enemy* of this particular civil liberty. Because only an enemy of this civil liberty would persist in denying it's existence at this point.

    I'd be content with you admitting the right exists, and leaving it to the NRA to defend. You don't have to be the one stop for defending all civil liberties.

    But if you're going to be a *civil liberties* union, you've got to at least refrain from ATTACKING any of them. And that's what you're doing at this point.

  45. Chuck Wagner Says:

    This position is disingenuous, since the Heller case has articulated an individual right, the ACLU is in reality stating, “Yes, an individual right would serve the purposes of the militia, but we don’t think that’s a good individual right, so we’re going to ignore it. We hope it will go away.”
    I'm extremely disappointed that the ACLU would hold to a premise that has been so thoroughly discredited.
    This has damaged my opinion of the ACLU - with the ambiguous Miller decision; it was at least an arguable stance. But with Heller and the modern scholarship about the 2nd amendment, it is simply intellectually dishonest to continue pretending that it's a collective right.
    I was hoping that we could finally close the gap - that the ACLU would protect all my rights, and that I wouldn't be forced to choose between which rights I wanted protected.

  46. JN Heath Says:

    The answer here is simple. The ACLU should defend the 2nd Amendment collective right by suing the federal government to vindicate the rights of homosexuals who have been excluded from the National Guard under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." These people's 2nd Amendment rights are being collectively infringed by their exclusion from the militia system under federal law. This could best be remedied in California, where state law prohibits discrimination against homosexuals.

    This would 1) prove the validity of the "collective right" 2) strike a blow for gay rights 3) vindicate the 2nd Amendment in the form preferred by the ACLU's board 4) be perfectly consistent with the ACLU's mission.

    To overcome the apparent technical difficulty that the National Guard system operates on a funding mandate rather than an express federal imperative, the ACLU can argue from the "unconstitutional conditions doctrine", wherein Congress cannot make funding conditional on deprivation of a constitutional right.

    The ACLU would only have to prove that the 2nd Amendment allows each state to establish its own standards for militia enrollment, in order to sponsor the collective right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This should be simple to accomplish -- see J. Steven's dissent in _Heller_, pp.19 n.20.

    JNH

  47. GOV Says:

    Any credability you once had is now gone! You have shot yourself in the foot! (pun intended) Just think , if you had done the proper thing, all these people mould have been supporters. You are no longer a valid entity, and your demise will be swift. You cannot say you support the BoR but not in its' entirety.......Hipocrits!!!!This is exactly what you deserve....On the side of the American people my ASS!!!

  48. rrr Says:

    I just renewed by NRA membership and will never put any money towards the ACLU.

  49. FredZiffle Says:

    Boy !! People have a Constitutional right to an abortion, but do not have a right given to them by the Constitution? These guys are at best Socialists and at worst Nazis. Vote against any liberals you can, guys and gals, or this is what you will end up with.

  50. Nomen Nescio Says:

    Re. tgirsch, @ #39:

    to focus on only certain few civil liberties would be appropriate for an organization with a more explicitly limited scope. but the ACLU has never before represented itself as any American Handful of Cherry-Picked Liberties Union. besides, that logic is not consistent; should the ACLU no longer concern themselves with establishment clause cases, simply because there is now an Americans United for Separation of Church and State? surely not.

    on the contrary, the ACLU has a long and honorable history of taking principled stances for the liberties of all Americans, even in cases where the particulars seem distasteful. everyone understands that when the ACLU defends pariahs ranging from the Klan to Fred Phelps by way of the Nazis, they're not defending the positions of those groups, but their rights and the principle that rights are for everybody, even if we may not like it in any given case.

    against that background, their stance on the second amendment has always been a bit odd. reading a "right of the people" to mean rights of individuals except if it's the right to own weapons was ever illogical, but lacking any Supreme Court pronouncement to the contrary, tolerable. now, however, it has become jarring. now, it raises the question of just what principles the ACLU really stands for, and just where they think our rights are to be settled.

    the ACLU has a storied history of litigation in defense of our rights, but now they seem to be blatantly ignoring a Supreme Court decision because... well, why exactly are they brushing it aside? does the judicial system of this country no longer matter to them? or do they simply think they know better?

    it's understandable that large organizations can sometimes take a while to change long-held, probably cherished, positions. but in the face of a sea change in the laws of the land, organizations concerned with the law must change in response. at this point, i had expected the ACLU to at very least understand and admit that they need to reevaluate their position --- i had not thought they would simply reiterate it and pretend nothing had happened.

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