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Gun Control Laws: What Gives Congress the Right?

Dateline: 3/19/2000

Why aren't federal gun control laws unconstitutional?

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, simply 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."

With the meaning of the words "shall not be infringed" on their side , why have anti-gun control advocates limited their battle to the halls of Congress? Why have they not challenged gun laws as unconstitutional under the  Second Amendment?

Because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the Second Amendment protects the rights of the well regulated militias of the states, not individual citizens, to keep and bear arms.

And, when it comes to regulating the militias of the states, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives that authority to -- The United States Congress:

"to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively the appointment of officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." -- Article I, Section 8, U.S. Constitution

While advocates on both sides of the gun control debate often cite dozens of cases, the Supreme Court's definitive ruling on the 2nd Amendment comes from a single key 1939 case -- United States v. Miller.

Gun Control Online Debate Read or join in a free online forum dedicated to the gun control.

Two guys with a too short shotgun
When Jack Miller and Frank Layton were caught driving from Claremore, Oklahoma to Siloam Springs, Arkansas carrying a double barrel 12-gauge Stevens shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches in length, they were charged with and indicted of violation of Section 11 of the National Firearms Act of 1934.

On appeal, the Arkansas Western District Court found that section 11 of the Firearms Act of 1934 violated the Second Amendment and quashed the indictment. 

The U.S. Justice Department appealed the Arkansas Court's action to the U.S. Supreme Court where a landmark decision on gun control laws was just waiting to be made.

U.S. v Miller: Another Interpretation
Jeff Chan of RKBA.org (the Right to Keep and Bear Arms), presents a very valid alternative interpretation that the Supreme Court's U.S. v. Miller does indeed uphold the individuals' right to keep and bear arms.

Next page The Supreme Court Finds Otherwise >Page 1, 2, 3

Online Poll: Should Congress enact laws requiring trigger locks and criminal background checks at gun shows?


Gun Control Laws In Canada
Canadian gun laws are among the toughest in the world and statistics indicate they are effective. Could laws like these be in the future of U.S. gun owners?

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