Heller Decision and the Second Amendment

So, we've been getting a lot of comments about the ACLU's stance on the Second Amendment. For those of you who didn't catch our response in the blog comments, here it is again:

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.

As always, we welcome your comments.

 

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DJ Rick

So pretty much, your policy went from “we agree with the decision in US v Miller that gun ownership is not a constitutional right” to “we disagree with DC V Heller and still believe that gun ownership is not a constitutional right”, meaning that despite whatever ruling is laid down, the ACLU will be against the individual right of private gun ownership.

I was really hoping that the ACLU would at least reconsider its stance, now invalidated by the SCOTUS, and come around to the popularly accepted and now legally accepted view that an amendment in the bill of rights (whether it be the Firs, Second, Third or whichever) actually protects an individual’s right.

The ACLU has always claimed to protect the Bill of Rights and American values and its critics (myself included) have always seen it as just a clearing house for left wing legal advocacy that is willing to defend any shitbag with a grudge (be it John Walker Lindh, the Taliban, Al-Qaida, Soviet spies, the CPUSA, etcetera).

Well, now it’s confirmed, you are nothing more that a bunch of left wing hacks who could give a flying fuck about the Bill of Rights.

Q: How does an ACLU lawyer count to 10?
A: 1, 3, 4, 5 . . .

Nomen Nescio

thank you for this consolidation thread. for conciseness, i will copy over my earlier comment; if the moderators wish, they may delete that earlier comment from the unrelated thread.

the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation

well duh — what else have we been doing around the first amendment all these decades? now the second gets to be taken equally as seriously, that’s all.

yes, there’s a lot of lost time to catch up on; there’s decades of litigation and precedent that’s established a culture of judicial debate around the first amendment’s various clauses that the second has yet to get. but now, it can and hopefully will. is the ACLU going to help or hinder this process? or is it going to play ostrich and pretend none of it is happening?

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right.

ostrich it is, i see. news flash: the ACLU is not the supreme court of this country. i’m disappointed in you.

Posey

The ACLU's position was wrong before Heller; to maintain it now is absurd. Not one of the justices in Heller endorsed the "collective rights" viewpoint. If the ACLU believes that it is the best public policy that individuals should not own guns, it should campaign for the removal of the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution. By instead arguing for a ridiculously narrow judicial interpretation of that amendment, it is undermining its argument for a broad reading of the rest of the Bill of Rights it so treasures.

NotSurprised

Does that mean that I can interpret the constitution as not providing for a right to privacy? That wasn't a dramatic innovation in civil liberties? Now that the Court has decided that, will the ACLU now feel compelled to defend it as a constitutional right? Does the ACLU only defend civil liberties it agrees with?

TexasCivilLiber...

I don't know why this the only consitutional right the ACLU doesn't defend. The Bill of Rights protects the rights of INDIVIDUALS, so the idea that the Bill of Rights protects a "collective right" is absolutely preposterous. The ACLU needs to change its position on the Second Amendment from the politically correct orthodox liberal position to the truly civil libertarian position. We cannot pick and choose which rights are worthy of more protection than others.

Foaud

Why does the ACLU disagree with the Supreme Court's decision?
Now that the Court has established an individual right, shouldn't the ACLU be celebrating an expansion of rights for more americans, much in the same way that other amendments and cases have.

It seems that the reasoning at the ACLU is being inconsistent when one considers the other amendments and Civil Rights.

GCM

All the rights in the bill of rights are individual rights, A true patriot stands up for all rights, even those they do not like,we can not change the meaning of amendments or allow modified definitions of them. what about slavery? should we allow some slavery? is a ban on slavery an individual right or a collective one should we change the meaning of the 13th amendment? of course not! If the ACLU does not like the second amendment tough, it means what it means and should be fought for as much as any other right.

John Fredrickson

If the ACLU wants to maintain its credibility as the defender of the bill of rights then it must endorse the 2nd amendment as an individual right, and not maintain its pathetic stance claiming it disagrees with the SCOTUS. The fat lady has sung. Get with the program.

ke_future

seeing as how there has never been a supreme court interpretation embracing 2A as a collective right, i'm unclear as to how the Heller decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms.

Samuel

> The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller.

The ACLU long based its "collective right" interpretation on the Supreme Court's ruling in US v. Miller.

The Supreme Court has now clarified what was meant by US v. Miller, that the Second Amendment never concerned a collective right, and that those who read US v. Miller to that meaning were incorrect.

In other words, the very *basis* for the ACLU's "collective right" interpretation has been invalidated, and the individual right to keep and bear arms has been recognized as a vital liberty of equal standing as all those protected by the Bill of Rights.

I don't want to hear any more about the ACLU prevaricating on how they "disagree" with this individual right protected by the Bill of Rights. What I (and many other members) now want is for the ACLU to step to the forefront of protecting our Second Amendment rights so that the damned NRA will stop being the only place liberal gunowners can turn to.

Will you just get with the program? Numerous polls show ~ 75% of US voters know the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and ~65% of registered DEMOCRATS agree with that position. We need you to show some leadership and embrace our rights, not leave the Second Amendment neglected for the NRA to continue to wrap in right-wing rhetoric.

Doesn't your sense of decency demand you treat all of our Constitutional rights equally?

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