Acting like God – again

By Barbara Simpson

Stevie Reinhardt strikes again!

Forgive me. I’m not showing proper respect. Judge Stephen Reinhardt strikes again!

If you don’t know the name – you should. What he writes and rules will have an impact on your lives. Indeed, if the decisions hold, on the future of this country.

Stephen Reinhardt is a judge, sitting on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He’s a Carter appointee and serves on a panel that among wags is called the 9th Circus Court of Appeal.

That’s a clue. It’s arguably the most liberal Court of Appeal in the country and certainly the one whose rulings are most overturned.

Regardless, it hears cases of major issues and the latest is not one to be ignored.

The issue is the right of the state to regulate firearms. Ultimately, it deals with the meaning of the second amendment.

Twenty-seven words. They are simple words and, for years, the meaning was understood.

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.

You might have thought the meaning of the amendment was clear. It was, but not now.

On Dec. 5, the 9th Circuit, a federal appeals court, in a 3-0 decision, unanimously upheld a California ban on assault weapons. The court said individuals have no right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

According to Judge Reinhardt, who wrote the decision, “The historical record makes it equally plain that the amendment was not adopted in order to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession.”

Interestingly enough, one of the Judges, Frank J. Magill, went along with the decision but said it wasn’t necessary because the court had already ruled on the issue, in l966. That case was an appeal of a Los Angeles denial for a request for a concealed-carry permit. The court ruled that individuals had no right to bear arms.

If you ever wondered how lawyers and judges strangle words, consider this. Not only does Judge Reinhardt state that the Second Amendment is “clear” that individuals don’t have the right to private gun ownership or possession – he concluded that the right to “keep and bear arms” is not the same as owning or possessing them.


He also interpreted the reason for the amendment as a concern by the people about the federal government having too much power and that militias would be a safeguard.

He then goes on to say a state must be free from “unregulated” mobs of armed individuals. Who are those mobs? For that, the good judge draws from the anti-gun armament of boogiemen. The “real” dangers he cites are the private Michigan Militia and the “extremist militia” associated with Timothy McVeigh “and other militants with similar anti-government views, groups of white supremacists or other racial or religious bigots, or indeed any other private collection of individuals.”

” … any other private collection of individuals.”?

How about that for leaving the barn door wide-open to legal interpretation? Thanks for clarifying, your honor. I wonder what “private collection” might soon find itself under the scrutiny of the government on any level?

Reinhardt then goes on to write: “‘well-regulated’ confirms that ‘militia’ can only reasonably be construed as referring to a military force established and controlled by a governmental entity.”

Let me understand. The founding fathers were concerned about the government having too much power so they decided the only way to prevent that was to have a government-controlled military force to keep order and the people unarmed?

George Orwell, where are you when we need you?

The current case came about as an appeal of a sweeping assault-weapon ban in California. The challenge in district court was dismissed. The latest ruling upholds that dismissal which also said off-duty police officers are exempt. The new ruling does not exempt retired police.

The next step would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Liberals want to stall that, fearing the present court would reaffirm the traditional definitions of the right to keep and bear arms.

Remember my caution about Judge Reinhardt? He’s long been a proponent of mandatory school busing for integration. In June, he ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

Oh, and the day before the gun ruling, the 9th ruled that the atheist father does have a right to sue over the Pledge.

I told you it was a circus.