At the ballot box and in the courtroom, it has been a good year for the Second Amendment. In some states, citizens took to the polls to make it known that their Second Amendment rights were not to be undermined. In others, it was the courts that solidified our right to bear arms.
Take a look at some of the highlights from this past year, and check out who really lost big in November:
In this past election, the voters of Alabama went to the polls and overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment that further secured their Second Amendment rights. Amendment 3, as it was called on the ballot, made firearm ownership a fundamental right and added extra security against any international treaties that might seek to undermine the Second Amendment.
The language of the Bill reads as follows:
(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.
The Second Amendment also scored a huge victory in Missouri. The citizens of Missouri passed an amendment that will require the state to defend the right to keep and bear arms. Amendment 5 makes it clear: the state of Missouri will be responsible for protecting any infringements that might be taken against the Second Amendment.
From the Tenth Amendment Center:
As passed by voters, Amendment 5 now affirms that “the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.” [emphasis added]
Read more about this victory here.
While Alabama and Missouri made huge gains in protecting the Second Amendment, I believe the biggest victory this year came in Washington, D.C.. Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia’s decades old ban on carrying firearms outside the home was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin concluded, “There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.”
As a result of this ruling, the D.C. Council was forced to create a system that allowed for its residents to carry handguns outside of their home. The D.C. Council, which is no friend to Second Amendment, made sure that their displeasure about the new law was known. According to the Washington Post, Mary M. Cheh was one of the council members who expressed disappointment about the mandatory changes.
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said before the vote that she was “deeply disappointed” by the demise of the city’s decades-old ban on carrying guns and said the court ruling, in her view, did “grievous harm to public safety” in the nation’s capital.
While the permitting process in D.C. is ridiculously complicated, and will undoubtedly face additional court challenges to its legitimacy, this was a huge step in the right direction for gun rights in the District of Columbia.
San Diego County
The Second Amendment also saw some success in California earlier this year. In February, San Diego County — hardly a bastion of freedom — saw their “good cause” requirement struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The “good cause” requirement did not recognize self-defense as a legitimate need to acquire conceal carry license.
No, I’m serious; they did not recognize self-defense as a legitimate reason for carrying a firearm.
Judge O’Scannlain, who issued the opinion in this case, also pointed out that previous court decisions on have indicated that the Second Amendment allows for citizens to carry outside of their home.
The Judge pointed out that the Second Amendment protects a “right not only to ‘keep’ arms but also to ‘bear’ them.” After examining several sources, along with the Heller and McDonald decisions, O’Scannlain concluded that the evidence “suggest[s] that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry a firearm in some fashion outside the home.”
The NRA-ILA has fantastic write-up about this case. You can read more about it here.
While we enjoy the victories from this past election cycle, let us also celebrate the fact that we defeated a billionaire who dumped millions of dollars into the election in an effort to defeat pro-Second Amendment candidates.
Michael Bloomberg: November’s Biggest Loser
Do you remember the name of that anti-gun group that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put together?
Yea, me either.
It seems that most voters forgot about the group, as well. Bloomberg and his anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, lost BIG in the November elections. According to reports, Bloomberg spent around $50 million in an effort to defeat pro-Second Amendment candidates.
Bloomberg foolishly thought that this $50 million cash dump would scare the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.). Ironically, he accused the N.R.A. of bullying politicians into voting for their agenda and said that they should be afraid of his effort to defeat N.R.A. backed candidates in this past election.
They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’
He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
Thankfully for us, his efforts to defeat pro-Second Amendment candidates failed to gain support among voters. Unsurprisingly, the American electorate does not take kindly to billionaires trying to force their political agenda on them.
While this year has brought us many victories, we must remember to always be vigilant in our efforts to protect our Second Amendment rights. Let us move forward to 2015 with a renewed vision to further protect our rights and hold accountable those politicians that seek to take them away.