U.S. Supreme Court affirms gun rights

The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Second Amendment protects an individual right and applies to the states is a striking victory not just for gun rights advocates but for anyone who believes in the fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“Libertarians have always firmly supported the individual right of self-defense,” said Mark Hinkle, Libertarian Party chair. “Now there is some hope that Chicago’s horrible violent crime problem can be reduced by law-abiding citizens who will now be able to deter and resist criminals. More guns equal less crime.”

Hinkle said he was disturbed that four justices voted to the ban. “Their position is an attempt to pursue a policy goal from the bench, not to apply the Constitution — and to make matters worse, it is a policy goal that would be very harmful to the people of Chicago, and potentially to everyone in America.

“We hope that this ruling will lead to further court decisions that reduce the government’s ability to infringe on gun rights with burdensome restrictions and red tape,” Hinkle said.

The decision followed a similar case, District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court overturned the district’s handgun ban. That case was originally brought by Dick Heller, a Libertarian Party member.

In the wake of the decision, Grass Roots North Carolina, the Second Amendment Foundation and several individual plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s emergency powers gun ban.

The lawsuit contends that state statutes forbidding carrying of firearms and ammunition during declared states of emergency are unconstitutional, as affirmed by the McDonald v. Chicago ruling. The suit also challenges laws enabling government officials to prohibit purchase, sale and possession of firearms and ammunition in such emergencies.

“North Carolina’s legislature has chosen to infringe upon a citizens’ ability to protect themselves and their families in times of need,” said GRNC president Paul Valone in a press release. “When (the city of) King banned guns and ammunition in response to pending snowfall, it clearly highlighted the unconstitutional restrictions endured by lawful North Carolinians.”

“Republicans and Democrats both deserve blame for violating gun rights,” said Hinkle. Republicans often position themselves as Second Amendment defenders, but he noted the record shows otherwise.

Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, received a F minus rating from Gun Owners of America. President George Bush supported a project that sought to toughen and federalize prosecution of gun control laws. President Ronald Reagan supported the Brady Bill, a federal gun control law.