Americans & Firearms • Why do an estimated 60 million people own an estimated 200 million firearms? • Personal protection • Competitive shooting • Recreational shooting • Hunting • Collecting
The Bill of Rights What are the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution? • First 10 Amendments • Not granted by government • Define inalienable rights of citizens that government can not regulate • George Mason authored these individual liberties as a “champion for the people”.1 1 http://www.americaslibrary.gov
The Second Amendment • The Second Amendment was not debated until long after it was ratified. • No different from anything else in Bill of Rights • Guaranteed as an Individual Right
The Second Amendment • Two accepted versions exist of Second Amendment • Versions vary slightly in punctuation and capitalization
The Second Amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” - National Archives, Scribe: William Lambert “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” – As written by the House and Senate; ratified
What Does It mean? “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…” • Begins with a declaratory statement • Importance of militias to preserve freedom • Many interpret this as having some impact on remainder of Amendment
What Does It Mean? What was the authors’ intent for “well-regulated?” • Militia should carry common arms that all citizens could utilize • Modern police departments have same rationale for their firearms policies
What Does It Mean? “…the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” • Finishes with an operative statement • Prohibits infringement of this innate right of the People
Enumerated Rights How does the Second compare to other enumerations in the Bill of Rights? “Congress shall make no law abridging… the right of the people… peaceably to assemble…” -First Amendment to U.S. Constitution “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated…” -Fourth Amendment to U.S. Constitution
The Debate To whom does the Second Amendment apply? • Each U.S. State • A “collective right” of all U.S. citizens • An “individual right” of each U.S. citizen
Innate Individual Rights • The First, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments refer to a “right of the people” just as the Second Amendment does. • The meaning of “people” is clearly evident when taking into consideration the intent of the Bill of Rights: Protecting the rights of individuals
The Right of the States • The Bill of Rights concludes with: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” • If the authors wanted the right to keep and bear arms applied to “The States” they wouldn’t have said “The People”.
Those Sloppy Framers “Interpreting the word ‘people’ in the Second Amendment to refer to the state governments requires one to assume that the framers of the text were unbelievably sloppy or whimsical in their use of language. If one is going to make assumptions like that, one might just as well go all the way and assume that the Second Amendment uses the word "arms" to mean the upper limbs of the human body.” - Source: A Primer on the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Mandatory Ownership "If liberals interpreted the Second Amendment the way they interpret the rest of the Bill of Rights, there would be law professors arguing that gun ownership is mandatory." - Mickey Kaus, Washington Post, Jan 8 1980, in op-ed by Michael Kinsley.
The National Guard Argument: • Some argue that the Second Amendment only protects the National Guard. Fact: • The National Guard was created in 1903 • Over 100 years after the Second Amendment was adopted
U.S. Supreme Court How has the United States Supreme Court ruled on the issue?
U.S. v. Cruikshank, 1876 • A U.S. Supreme Court decision quoted out of context to argue that the 2A is “not a right granted by the constitution”. • The Court ruled in Cruikshank that the right pre-existed the constitution.
U.S. v. Miller, 1939 • Mr. Miller was charged with possession of a shotgun • He never appeared before the court and no one defended him. • The State never argued a collective rights theory • Argued that the firearm he had was not a weapon the “military” would use.
U.S. v. Miller, 1939 • Miller decision usually taken out of context • Does not dispel “individual right” interpretation • Decided that Mr. Miller’s choice of arms was not “military grade”.
Roots of Gun Control • Rooted in racism • Gun control in the United States has a dark history of prohibiting “freed slaves” from taking up arms… • Supreme Court ruled in Scott v Sanford (1857) that negroes could not be citizens because otherwise they would have the right to suffrage, to peaceably assemble, and to “keep and carry arms wherever they want.”
The State Constitutions "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State -- and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power." - Vermont, Adopted 1777 Least restrictive state; contributed to Second Amendment
The State Constitutions “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." - Pennsylvania, Adopted 1790
The State Constitutions "That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State, shall not be questioned." - Kentucky, Adopted 1792 (1 year after the Second Amendment)
The State Constitutions "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.” - Ohio Constitution, 1851
The State Constitutions • Ohio’s current Constitution replaced this 1802 language: "That the people have a right to bear arms forthe defense of themselves and the State; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be kept up, and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to the civil power."
Concealed Carry • Most likely began in Vermont • 1903 Supreme Court ruling prohibited licensing a city ordinance due to Vermont’s strong constitutional language. • Today, anyone not committing a crime may carry a firearm in Vermont without a license. • Does Vermont have “blood flowing in the streets”?
Vermont & Alaska Carry • Firearm Right activists consider “Vermont Carry” to be the gold standard. • In 2003 the State of Alaska morphed Vermont Carry into their right to carry laws. • In Alaska, a license to carry is optionalfor law-abiding citizens • Does Alaska have “blood flowing in the streets”?
Florida • Florida became the right-to-carry trendsetter • In an effort to combat rising violent crime the State enacted a licensing system that has become the national model for concealed carry reform. • Subsequently, Florida has had crime steadily decrease
Abolishing Firearms • Many groups try to strongly restrict, regulate, or eliminate gun ownership. • In 2005 Brazil had a simple Yes/No vote: Should every type of firearm and ammunition be banned from sales? • In Brazil, every adult under 70 must vote. • The ban was soundly defeated • More than 64% of Brazilians voted No
Illegal Confiscation • Confiscation of legal firearms is presumably illegal in the United States • It occurred in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina • Second Amendment designed to protect against this! “No one will be able to be armed. We will take all weapons” - New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley, September 8th, 2005 (ABC News)
Law Enforcement • “Police Chiefs’ Perceptions of the Regulation of Firearms” is a recent study to which Ms. Thompson contributed • Implies that most large cities have anti-firearm police chiefs • Reported that using police chiefs to support gun control might improve the successes of gun control groups.
Law Enforcement • The National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) surveys Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs annually. • The 2006 survey was sent to 22,587 officers • Opposed to Ms. Thompson’s study sent to just 600 big-city police chiefs. • The survey consists of 33 “police” questions, but only 7 refer to firearms.
NACOP 2006 Survey • These results are very different from Ms. Thompson’s • Larger sample size • Less bias – includes officers from all over the country, in all sizes of cities
Ohio Cops • When working to pass Ohio’s CCW law we met regular opposition from: • The “Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police” • The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (The National “Grand Lodge” supports CCW) • The Ohio State Highway Patrol • We regularly met support from the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association • Ohio’s Sheriff’s are the only elected law enforcement in the State of Ohio.
Law Enforcement "Those with the concealed-carry licenses have been good, law-abiding citizens. The worst-case scenarios that were put out there about the gunfight at the OK Corral didn't come to fruition." - Robert Cornwell, Executive Director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association, in The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Law Enforcement • Finding negative law enforcement opinions is just as easy as finding the opposite • Ohioans For Concealed Carry has coordinated with Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy, and his Deputy Chief, before legislative committees hearing testimony • In most police departments the higher your rank the more likely you’ll tow the line of your city leadership
Thank you! Ohioans For Concealed Carry OhioCCW.org