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Indeed, the 1856 Republican Party Platform protested that in Kansas the constitutional rights of the people had been "fraudulently and violently taken from them" and the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" had been "infringed." National Party Platforms 1840-1972, p. See Brief for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison et al 6.Second, petitioners and many others who live in high-crime areas dispute the proposition that the Second Amendment right does not protect minorities and those lacking political clout.25, 1788), in 17 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution 360, 362-363 (J. And when attempts were made to disarm "Free-Soilers" in "Bloody Kansas," Senator Charles Sumner, who later played a leading role in the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, proclaimed that "[n]ever was [the rifle] more needed in just self-defense than now in Kansas." The Crime Against Kansas: The Apologies for the Crime: The True Remedy, Speech of Hon. Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, p. The laws of some States formally prohibited African Americans from possessing firearms. In the first session of the 39th Congress, Senator Wilson told his colleagues: "In Mississippi rebel State forces, men who were in the rebel armies, are traversing the State, visiting the freedmen, disarming them, perpetrating murders and outrages upon them; and the same things are done in other sections of the country." 39th Cong. The Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction--which was widely reprinted in the press and distributed by Members of the 39th Congress to their constituents shortly after Congress approved the Fourteenth Amendment, Joint Committee on Reconstruction, H. But in this case, as it turns out, there is evidence of such a consensus.Charles Sumner in the Senate of the United States 64-65 (1856). After the Civil War, many of the over 180,000 African Americans who served in the Union Army returned to the States of the old Confederacy, where systematic efforts were made to disarm them and other blacks. For example, a Mississippi law provided that "no freedman, free negro or mulatto, not in the military service of the 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 bowie knife." Certain Offenses of Freedmen, 1865 Miss. 165, §1, in 1 Documentary History of Reconstruction 289 (W. 1950); see also Regulations for Freedmen in Louisiana, in ., at 279-280; H. An brief submitted by 58 Members of the Senate and 251 Members of the House of Representatives urges us to hold that the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental.We therefore decline to disturb the all preceded the era in which the Court began the process of "selective incorporation" under the Due Process Clause, and we have never previously addressed the question whether the right to keep and bear arms applies to the States under that theory. Nonetheless, over 60 years later the Court held that the right of peaceful assembly was a "fundamental righ[t] ... We follow the same path here and thus consider whether the right to keep and bear arms applies to the States under the Due Process Clause. 226 (1897) (due process prohibits States from taking of private property for public use without just compensation). Second, the Court explained that the only rights protected against state infringement by the Due Process Clause were those rights "of such a nature that they are included in the conception of due process of law." , 287 U. Finally, the Court abandoned "the notion that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the States only a watered-down, subjective version of the individual guarantees of the Bill of Rights," stating that it would be "incongruous" to apply different standards "depending on whether the claim was asserted in a state or federal court." , 378 U. Instead, the Court decisively held that incorporated Bill of Rights protections "are all to be enforced against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment according to the same standards that protect those personal rights against federal encroachment." , 302 U. In answering that question, as just explained, we must decide whether the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to ., at ___ (slip op., at 56) (stating that the "inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right"). In an 1868 speech addressing the disarmament of freedmen, Representative Stevens emphasized the necessity of the right: "Disarm a community and you rob them of the means of defending life. The right to keep and bear arms was also widely protected by state constitutions at the time when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. Quite a few of these state constitutional guarantees, moreover, explicitly protected the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right to self-defense. But what is most striking about their research is the paucity of precedent sustaining bans comparable to those at issue here and in , 103 Ill. It is important to keep in mind that , while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not "a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." 554 U. We made it clear in that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as "prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill," "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." ., at ___-___ (slip op., at 54-55). Despite municipal respondents' doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.Indeed, , the Court held that the general "right of the people peaceably to assemble for lawful purposes," which is protected by the First Amendment, applied only against the Federal Government and not against the States. safeguarded by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." , 299 U. In the late 19th century, the Court began to consider whether the Due Process Clause prohibits the States from infringing rights set out in the Bill of Rights. Five features of the approach taken during the ensuing era should be noted. Explaining that "the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute" in the home, ., at ___ (slip op., at 57) ("[T]he American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon"). Thus, Antifederalists and Federalists alike agreed that the right to bear arms was fundamental to the newly formed system of government. Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right 155-164 (1994). Take away their weapons of defense and you take away the inalienable right of defending liberty." "The fourteenth amendment, now so happily adopted, settles the whole question." Cong. And in debating the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress routinely referred to the right to keep and bear arms and decried the continued disarmament of blacks in the South. Finally, legal commentators from the period emphasized the fundamental nature of the right. Farrar, Manual of the Constitution of the United States of America §118, p. Pomeroy, An Introduction to the Constitutional Law of the United States §239, pp. In 1868, 22 of the 37 States in the Union had state constitutional provisions explicitly protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Municipal respondents argue, finally, that the right to keep and bear arms is unique among the rights set out in the first eight Amendments "because the reason for codifying the Second Amendment (to protect the militia) differs from the purpose (primarily, to use firearms to engage in self-defense) that is claimed to make the right implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." Brief for Municipal Respondents 36-37. Explaining that "the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute" in the home, explored the right's origins in English law and noted the esteem with which the right was regarded during the colonial era and at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. (i) By the 1850's, the fear that the National Government would disarm the universal militia had largely faded, but the right to keep and bear arms was highly valued for self-defense. A survey of contemporary legal authorities plainly shows that, at that time, the ratifying public understood the Clause to protect constitutionally enumerated rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. Applying the standard that is well established in our case law, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States. They argue that Members of Congress overwhelmingly viewed §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment "as an antidiscrimination rule," and they cite statements to the effect that the section would outlaw discriminatory measures. If that were so, then the First Amendment, as applied to the States, would not prohibit nondiscriminatory abridgments of the rights to freedom of speech or freedom of religion; the Fourth Amendment, as applied to the States, would not prohibit all unreasonable searches and seizures but only discriminatory searches and seizures--and so on. Rather, the right to keep and bear arms is enforceable against the States because it is a privilege of American citizenship recognized by §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." In interpreting this language, it is important to recall that constitutional provisions are " 'written to be understood by the voters.' " , 554 U. The objective of this inquiry is to discern what "ordinary citizens" at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment's ratification would have understood that Amendment's Privileges or Immunities Clause to mean. We have previously held that most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply with full force to both the Federal Government and the States. Despite all this evidence, municipal respondents contend that Congress, in the years immediately following the Civil War, merely sought to outlaw "discriminatory measures taken against freedmen, which it addressed by adopting a non-discrimination principle" and that even an outright ban on the possession of firearms was regarded as acceptable, "so long as it was not done in a discriminatory manner." Brief for Municipal Respondents 7. First, while §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains "an antidiscrimination rule," namely, the Equal Protection Clause, municipal respondents can hardly mean that §1 does no more than prohibit discrimination.
However, he asserted, there is a path to this conclusion that is more straightforward and more faithful to the Second Amendment's text and history. ___ (2008), we held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, and we struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home. A clear majority of the States in 1868, therefore, recognized the right to keep and bear arms as being among the foundational rights necessary to our system of Government.
The plight of Chicagoans living in high-crime areas was recently highlighted when two Illinois legislators representing Chicago districts called on the Governor to deploy the Illinois National Guard to patrol the City's streets.
The legislators noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq and that 80% of the Chicago victims were black.
After , petitioners filed this federal suit against the City, which was consolidated with two related actions, alleging that the City's handgun ban has left them vulnerable to criminals. The Court clarified that the governing standard is whether a particular Bill of Rights protection is fundamental to our Nation's particular scheme of ordered liberty and system of justice. The Court also held that Bill of Rights protections must "all ... Congress, however, ultimately deemed these legislative remedies insufficient, and approved the Fourteenth Amendment. Evidence from the period immediately following the Amendment's ratification confirms that that right was considered fundamental. But while §1 does contain an antidiscrimination rule, the Equal Protection Clause, it can hardly be said that the section does no more than prohibit discrimination. any firearm," a term that includes "pistols, revolvers, guns and small arms ... Petitioners' primary submission is that this right is among the "privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" and that the narrow interpretation of the Privileges or Immunities Clause adopted in the , should now be rejected. And it protects the "full and equal benefit" of this right in the States. Third, if the 39th Congress had outlawed only those laws that discriminate on the basis of race or previous condition of servitude, African Americans in the South would likely have remained vulnerable to attack by many of their worst abusers: the state militia and state peace officers.
They sought a declaration that the ban and several related City ordinances violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. (3) The Court eventually moved in the direction advocated by Justice Black, by adopting a theory of selective incorporation by which the Due Process Clause incorporates particular rights contained in the first eight Amendments. be enforced against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment according to the same standards that protect those personal rights against federal encroachment." , 316 U. Today, it is generally accepted that that Amendment was understood to provide a constitutional basis for protecting the rights set out in the Civil Rights Act. If what municipal respondents mean is that the Second Amendment should be singled out for special--and specially unfavorable--treatment, the Court rejects the suggestion. commonly known as handguns." Oak Park, Ill., Municipal Code §§27-2-1 (2007), 27-1-1 (2009). The Chicago petitioners and their , however, argue that the handgun ban has left them vulnerable to criminals. As a secondary argument, petitioners contend that the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause "incorporates" the Second Amendment right. In the years immediately following the Civil War, a law banning the possession of guns by all private citizens would have been nondiscriminatory only in the formal sense.