Today's Supreme Court ruling reaffirming an American citizen's inalienable right to "keep and bear arms" makes for some fascinating reading - both for legal scholars and historians. Here are just a few excerpts from the 214 page ruling:
"Heller makes it clear that this right is “deeply rooted inthis Nation’s history and tradition.” Heller exploredthe right’s origins, noting that the 1689 English Bill of Rights explicitly protected a right to keep arms for self-defense and that by 1765, Blackstone was able to assert that the right to keep and bear arms was “one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen”
And . . .
"Blackstone’s assessment was shared by the Americancolonists. As we noted in Heller, King George III’s attemptto disarm the colonists in the 1760’s and 1770’s “provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms.” (Page 26.)
And . . .
“During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people inorder to impose rule through a standing army or selectmilitia was pervasive in Antifederalist rhetoric.” (Page 21.)
And . . . the 2nd amendment is not just for Englishmen:
"The laws of some States formally prohibited African Americans from possessing firearms. For example, a Mississippi law provided that “no freed-man, free negro or mulatto, not in the military service ofthe United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk or bowieknife." (Page 23.)
I've only perused the ruling, but it is loaded with a wealth of legal reasoning and historical references. You can find the full reading here. Justice Thomas's writings and views regarding this decision are particularly interesting and much closer to "original intent" philosophy.
An early, but good analysis here.
I suppose this is a victory for bitter-clingers everywhere.