The tired old "collective right" argument is back again

Washington DC’s egregious handgun ban is being challenged, and in its defense, DC’s attorneys are trying to argue that the Second Amendment to the United States protects a mythical “collective right.” Keep in mind that the amendment explicitly refers to “the right of the people“–not the right of the National Guard (which wouldn’t exist for more than a century).

Some other rights that are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights use the same “right of the people” phrase, but I have yet to hear anyone claim that the First, Fourth, Ninth, or Tenth Amendments have anything to do with “collective rights.” Still, these geniuses are trying to argue that the Second Amendment is somehow different. Actually, their argument would seem to be that the right it guarantees isn’t a right at all, but a power of the government. Rather odd, then, that it’s part of the Bill of Rights, isn’t it? Yes, the 2nd Amendment says we need a well regulated militia to secure our freedoms, but it doesn’t restrict the right to keep and bear arms to said militia–the right is clearly one of the people.

At least one of the judges seems to be aware of that:

“Show me anybody in the 19th century who interprets the Second Amendment the way you do,” Judge Laurence Silberman said [in response to DC’s Solicitor General’s claim that the district would have the right to ban all weapons]. It doesn’t appear until much later, the middle of the 20th century.”

It could be that in the near future, not only will residents of our nation’s capital have their rights restored (which would perhaps lift the city out of the cesspool of criminal violence it has been mired in for decades), but the entire “collective rights” argument could get the final dismissal it has so richly deserved from the very beginning.


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