The American Civil Liberties is getting blasted on its own blog site for holding onto the belief that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes a collective right for militias to have weapons, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the right applies to individuals.
“Sorry ACLU you lost me,” wrote SuperNaut. “I just took the money I had slated to re-up my lapsed ACLU membership and used it to re-up my NRA membership.”
Hundreds of comments have been posted in just the first few days of July, almost uniformly condemning the ACLU’s explanation of its position on gun rights, which is that individuals don’t have them.
“The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller,” the page started. “While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.”
The fine print said, “We intend the comments portion of this blog to be a forum where you can freely express your views on blog postings and on comments made by other people. Given that, please understand that you are responsible for the material you post on the comments portion of this blog. The only postings that we ask that you refrain from posting and that we cannot permit on our website are postings that could cause ACLU to incur legal liability.”
Then it specifically asked that comments endorsing or opposing specific political candidates not be posted.
“So pretty much, your policy went from ‘we agree with the decision in US v Miller that gun ownership is not a constitutional right’ to ‘we disagree with DC V Heller and still believe that gun ownership is not a constitutional right,’ meaning that despite whatever ruling is laid down, the ACLU will be against the individual right of private gun ownership,” said DJ Rick in launching the long list of several hundred comments.
“I was really hoping that the ACLU would at least reconsider its stance, now invalidated by the SCOTUS, and come around to the popularly accepted and now legally accepted view than an amendment in the bill of rights (whether it be the Firs (sic), Second, Third or whichever) actually protects an individual’s right,” he said.
“Q. How does an ACLU lawyer count to 10? A. 1, 3, 4, 5…,” he wrote.
“The ACLU’s position was wrong before Heller; to maintain it now is absurd. Not one of the justices in Heller endorsed the ‘collective rights’ viewpoint. If the ACLU believes that it is the best public policy that individuals should not own guns, it should campaign for the removal of the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution,” wrote Posey.
“Does that mean that I can interpret the constitution as not providing for a right to privacy? … Does the ACLU only defend civil liberties it agrees with?” wrote NotSurprised.
U.S. Supreme Court
WND reported when the Supreme Court decided in the D.C. vs. Heller case that the Second Amendment actually provides an individual right to own firearms, not just the right for states to form armed militias.
The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” Justice Antonin Scalia said in the majority opinion.
“We are very pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling today. This is a win for all Americans, and it vindicates the individual’s right to keep and bear arms,” Rachel Parsons, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told WND then. “We are now going to go after other cities’ laws that unlawfully ban gun ownership by law-abiding people.”
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing in dissent, said the majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.”
And Scalia said the ruling should not “cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”
Scalia was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Joining Stevens in dissent were Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.
The amendment, ratified in 1791, says: “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.”
The ACLU had maintained, and still holds, that the “right of the people” designates a collective belief in an armed militia, not having guns in homes.
There was no relenting on the part of forum posters, however.
“I don’t know why this [is] the only consitutional (sic) right the ACLU doesn’t defend. The Bill of Rights protects the rights of INDIVIDUALS, so the idea that the Bill of Rights protects a ‘collective right’ is absolutely preposterous,” wrote TexasCivilLibertarian. “The ACLU needs to change its position on the Second Amendment from the politically correct orthodox liberal position to the truly civil libertarian position. We cannot pick and choose which rights are worthy of more protection than others.”
“If the ACLU wants to maintain its credibility as the defender of the bill of rights then it must endorse the 2nd amendment as an individual right, and not maintain its pathetic stance claiming it disagrees with the SCOTUS. The fat lady has sung. Get with the program,” said John Fredrickson.
“I don’t want to hear any more about the ACLU prevaricating on how they ‘disagree’ with this individual right protected by the Bill of Rights. What I (and many other members) now want is for the ACLU to step to the forefront of protecting our Second Amendment rights so that the d—– NRA will stop being the only place liberal gunowners can turn to,” wrote Samuel. “Will you just get with the program? Numerous polls show [about] 75% of US voters know the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and [about] 65% of registered DEMOCRATS agree with that position. We need you to show some leadership and embrace our rights, not leave the Second Amendment neglected for the NRA to continue to wrap in right-wing rhetoric.
“Doesn’t your sense of decency demand you treat all of our Constitutional rights equally?” he wrote.
“We now have the ACLU explicitly denying what the Supreme courts (sic) calls a specific enumerated right. This is even more egregious than the KKK demanding segregated bus seating, water fountains, and restrooms since the Constitution doesn’t enumerate the right for integration of public and private accommodations,” said Joe Huffman.
“It’s a pity really, when bigotry, prejudice and cognitive dissonnance (sic) so easily brushes aside a fundamental human right, and the clear historical facts that support the establishment of that right, when it doesn’t suit one’s taste,” wrote Norasfolks.
“I thought the ACLU’s purpose was to uphold the rights of American citizens, as dictated by the Supreme Court. Am I missing something?” questioned Jay Rascoe.
“What about the First Amendment? It talks about freedom of the press, and ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble.’ That’s the same ‘the people’ as in the Second Amendment, which you’ve asserted is a ‘collective right.’ Maybe we should limit freedom of speech to registered press members (who will, of course, be required to store theiri typewriters in a disassembled and locked state, so that they are not able to exercise that collective right at a moment’s notice).” wrote Mark Jaquith. “We’ll take their fingerprints, run a background check, and make them demonstrate competency at composing headlines. Of course, no press will be allowed to operate within Washington D.C. – to keep illegal typewriters off the streets.”
- From Luis Leon: “Your arguments are incredibly lame.”
- From Steve: “Why would I give money to a group that … wants to deny me one of the most basic [of civil liberties].”
- From Novus: “I am disgusted and repulsed.”
- From WLC: “If there was any coubt that the ACLU is pushing a left wing political agenda, that argument is over.”
- From Brad: “Perhaps ACLU really stands for the ‘Anti-Civil Liberties Union’!”
- From A Pennsylvanian: “Are you for real?”
A reader has to go far down the list to find the first even neutral comment, from tgirsch, who said, “I’d like the organization to have no official opinion on the second amendment, and simply stay out of those issues. There are plenty of pro- and anti-gun organizations that can handle those cases, so it seems to me that the ACLU can maximize its efficacy by simply staying out of the way and focusing on the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments, as they historically have done.”
The case, District of Columbia v. Heller, came to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns unconstitutional, reversing a U.S. District Court decision.
Security guard Dick A. Heller, 66, was one of six district residents who filed the challenge to the ban. The others were determined by the appeals court to not have legal standing.
The district also required residents who owned handguns or rifles before the 1976 ban took effect to keep the weapons in their homes. Any legal firearms had to be kept unloaded and fitted with trigger locks or disassembled.