David Cohen: No absolute right

January 25, 2013 

No absolute right

What is missing from the current gun control debate is an understanding that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) found that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an absolute right to bear arms.

The decision overturned a blanket ban of the possession of hand guns by private residents in the District of Columbia.

The majority opinion stated: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

David Cohen

Chapel Hill

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