Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 461, March 23, 2008

"The greatest appeal of socialism is that its advocates
always imagine themselves at the top of the pecking order"

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Shall NOT Be Infringed!

What Part of "Shall NOT be Infringed" Do You NOT Understand?
by Dennis Wilson

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

This week, Gun owners had their day in court, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the DC v. Heller case, which involves a challenge to the DC gun ban.

According to a Gun Owners of America email bulletin, at some point, Justice John Paul Stevens asked Alan Gura, the attorney for Dick Heller, if it would be proper to say that the right protected in the Second Amendment shall not be "unreasonably infringed"?

To our shock and horror, Gura answered "yes."

He did qualify his answer somewhat by saying "we don't know" exactly what this "unreasonable standard looks like." But he conceded a significant amount of ground with his answer, because any ban would be "reasonable" to Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady.

Truth be told, we do have a proper standard for interpreting the Second Amendment. The language doesn't say anything about "reasonable" or "unreasonable;" it simply says the right of the people "shall not be infringed." It's a shame that even people on "our side" don't fully understand that.

That's why when USA Today looked at all the briefs which had been submitted, the editors decided to use GOA for the opposing voice in today's editorial.

The editors told our attorneys that GOA had an argument that was distinctive.

Indeed we do. GOA's brief says:

[T]he argument that "the right of the people" is subject to reasonable regulation and restriction tramples on the very words of the Second Amendment, reading the phrase — "shall not be infringed" - — as if it read "shall be subject only to reasonable regulation to achieve public safety."

"Public safety" is frequently a canard that tyrants hide behind to justify their oppressive policies. Writing in USA Today, our attorneys Herbert Titus and William Olson stated:

No government deprives its citizens of rights without asserting that its actions are "reasonable" and "necessary" for high-sounding reasons such as "public safety." A right that can be regulated is no right at all, only a temporary privilege dependent upon the good will of the very government officials that such right is designed to constrain.

For the rest of the editorial:

For the GOA brief, and other important documents and briefs in DC v. Heller:

Quite some time ago, I created a "Shall NOT be infringed" image for items at my CafePress site:

I never, ever expected it would become prophetic and such an appropriate response for that "reasonable" lawyer. At the time, I DID however, expect that it was an appropriate comment for some of the Supremes and the entire Brady Bunch.

If you scroll down, you will find greeting cards, note cards and postcards. Perhaps I should have pre-addressed them....

For those who would like to print the image on their own printer, go to and right click on the image, then "save image as" to your own computer.

I placed the image in public domain — use in any manner you desire. You will need to provide your own postage stamp.


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