Guns

The FAA Rediscovers the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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David Codrea, who sounded the alarm about the Federal Aviation Administration's apparent endorsement of the view that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms, notes that the agency has published a correction in the Federal Register:

When the FAA issued a final rule on human space flight, it described one rule as consistent with the Second Amendment of the Constitution because, among other things, the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment is a collective right. The FAA now withdraws that characterization and amends its description.

The offending passage, part of the FAA's justification for its ban on carrying firearms aboard spaceships, originally read (emphasis added):

The Second Amendment to the Constitution provides that "[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." This right is not unfettered. Nearly every statute restricting the right to bear arms has been upheld. For example, in 1958, Congress made it a criminal offense to knowingly carry a firearm onto an airplane engaged in air transportation….Additionally, nearly all courts have also held that the Second Amendment is a collective right, rather than a personal right. Therefore, despite the Second Amendment collective right to bear arms, the FAA has the authority to prohibit firearms on launch and reentry vehicles for safety and security purposes.

It now reads:

The Second Amendment to the Constitution provides that "[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." This right is not unfettered. Nearly every statute restricting the right to bear arms has been upheld. For example, in 1958, Congress made it a criminal offense to knowingly carry a firearm onto an airplane engaged in air transportation….By analogy, and for the reasons given when the FAA issued its human space flight requirements, the FAA has, consistent with the right to bear arms secured by the Second Amendment, the authority to prohibit firearms on launch and reentry vehicles for safety and security purposes.

Explaining the correction, the FAA notes that "the Executive Branch, through the Department of Justice, interprets the Second Amendment as securing a right of individuals to keep and bear arms." Codrea, who pointed out the inconsistency in a letter to the FAA, concludes:

If you know you're right, keep pushing—even if those with vastly more reach ignore you and others actively oppose you or put you down for it—all of which happened in this case. We can't let that deter us from doing what's right.