Bob Barr on Heller

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The Libertarian presidential candidate weighs in:

The ruling "will go down as one of the Supreme Court's most important rulings on behalf of liberty," says Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr.

Until today, the Court had never held that the Second Amendment directly applied to individuals. "Today's decision marks a new era for gun rights in America," explains Barr, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. Barr also drafted the Libertarian Party's amicus curiae brief in Heller. "By protecting an individual's right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment ensures that all Americans are able to participate in sporting activities, hunt, and protect themselves and their families," he explains.

The right to self-defense is particularly important for women and minorities in a city like Washington, D.C. "Where crime rates are high, a gun may be the only means for law-abiding citizens to safeguard themselves and their families," Barr notes. "Lawful gun ownership deters an untold number of crimes every year."

But the Court's ruling, though welcome, is not enough. "It is important to have a president who also supports the right of Americans to own firearms," says Barr. "Sen. Barack Obama says that he believes in such a constitutional right, but he supports the District of Columbia's ban, which gives criminals an advantage over law-abiding citizens," notes Barr.

Sen. McCain has not advocated an absolute prohibition, "but he cosponsored legislation which could require registration of attendees at gun shows and even ban such shows," Barr warns. And Sen. McCain's campaign legislation "curtailed the First Amendment right of gun owners to protect their rights by participating in election campaigns."

As part of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment undergirds American liberty. "The individual's right to keep and bear arms helps ensure all of our freedoms," says Barr. "The Supreme Court's recognition of the constitutional right to gun ownership is a recognition of the right to life, liberty, and property for all Americans."

The speed with which that went out reveals the confidence a lot of people had that it would go this way. Nothing yet from those other presidential candidates. Earlier, Barack Obama had issued a fishy retraction of last year's unambiguous statement that "the gun ban is constitutional."

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

UPDATE: John McCain weighs in:

Today's decision is a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States. For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers. I applaud this decision as well as the overturning of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and limitations on the ability to use firearms for self-defense.

Unlike Senator Obama, who refused to join me in signing a bipartisan amicus brief, I was pleased to express my support and call for the ruling issued today. Today's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans. Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right—sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly.

This ruling does not mark the end of our struggle against those who seek to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must always remain vigilant in defense of our freedoms. But today, the Supreme Court ended forever the specious argument that the Second Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms.

UPDATE II: From Barack Obama:

"I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today's ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

"As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today's decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

As Phil Klein points out, this is sort of a new take.

UPDATE:

NEXT: The 2nd Amendment: An Individual Right

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  1. The right to self-defense is particularly important for women and minorities in a city like Washington, D.C. “Where crime rates are high, a gun may be the only means for law-abiding citizens to safeguard themselves and their families,” Barr notes. “Lawful gun ownership deters an untold number of crimes every year.”

    He forgot the children.

    However, I do like the almost perfect rendering of the David Horowitz suggestion for what politicians should say on this issue. Yes, Mr. Horowitz snuck the children into one of his versions, saying a welfare mother’s only defense for her family is whatever she has hitten in the nightstand. That from memory, may have a word or two wrong.

  2. That’s a good response from Barr, criticizing both Obama and McCain without sounding too wingbatty.

  3. “That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator’s consistent position,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

    Sen. Obama, have you ever heard of a man named “John Kerry”? Consider him your “how not to” example.

  4. ::Yes, Mr. Horowitz snuck the children into one of his versions, saying a welfare mother’s only defense for her family is whatever she has hitten in the nightstand. That from memory, may have a word or two wrong.::

    I hope, for her family’s defense and her own pleasure, she keeps an extra set of batteries in that nightstand too

  5. Oh John McCain – I don’t believe a word you say

  6. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals.

    So now it’s Obama playing the “terrorist” fearmonger card.

    Change we can believe in!!!!

  7. I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms,

    I regard this as a flat-out lie, since no one who believes that a blanket ban on handgun ownership by individuals can also believe the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

  8. R C Dean | April 10, 2008, 10:45am | #

    He didn’t say the DC and Chicago laws were constitutional; he dodged, and said that DC and Chicago can have gun laws.

    Sure, he didn’t say in so many syllables “I do/don’t think the D.C. and Chicago laws are Constitutional.” That alone should worry you, joe, that he won’t take a clear position on a current and well-defined issue.

  9. “….but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures”

    What, you mean something like gun bans? They are neither common sense nor effective, Mr. Obama.

    “I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne”

    That assumes chicago’s ban works, which it doesn’t. Cheyenne just has less CRIMINALS, whom perpetuate crime.

  10. Say what you will about McCain but this is a good dig:

    Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right

    Too bad McCain doesn’t actually believe in the second half of his own sentence:

    — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly.

    Remember McCain-Feingold!!!!

  11. That doesn’t even make sense.

    Some people believe bitter people cling to guns, but I believe gun ownership is a fundamental right.

    Some people believe that people eat ice cream to cheer them up when they’re sad, but I believe eating ice cream is a fundamental right.

  12. They were bitter because sumbitches like Obama and 4 of the SCOTUS judges want to abrogate their Second Amendment rights.

  13. Umm, “abridge”, not “abrogate”

  14. “What works in Chicago?” The Tribune has all but added a permanant infographic to its website that counts the number of dead CPS students.

  15. The Libertarian presidential candidate weighs in…

    Here’s Barr’s youtube video on it.

    /shill

  16. Say what you will about McCain but this is a good dig:

    Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right

    Right, the black dude is an elitist, not the guy married to the $100 million beer baroness. The guy with the private jet and eight houses is just one of us folks.

  17. Another example of Obama using verbal artistry to allow people on both sides of the issue to find support for their views in his statement, and thus upset no one. Think seriously abot what he said: Gun rights are individual rights, but only in certain areas where they’re popular. If you live in certain cities, say somewhere other than Cheyenne, then its no longer reasonable for you to retain your rights. I can’t believe this guy even fools the libertarian crowd.

  18. Obama “I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne.” Please do tell us about how well your ban has worked in Chicago. I am sure it has been right up there with the effectiveness of the DC gun ban at prventing people from being shot. What a fuckin moron.

    Why is it always, ” I agree with the Constitutional ruling, BUT,” Fuck but there is no but there is the Constitution and Bill of Rights whether any politician agrees with them is their own business and I could give a rats ass. Your opinions of my Rights are as important to me as your opinion of vienna sausage, I just don’t give a shit what you think Obama. Nor does what you think have anything to do with my invoking those rights and maintaining them.

  19. Obama is such a liar. He can’t ever be left alone to just say what he thinks. Because no one would vote for him then, other than extreme left freaks. He has to have a speech telling him what he’s supposed to think.

  20. Now will Reason get off the Obama bandwagon? I know it took myself a while to get turned off to Obama (when I realized he’s just a Pander Bear – read the economics section of his website to get a taste of his forked tongue), and it looked like some other libertarians had yet to wake up. Thankfully his words on the gun decision will speed that process along.

  21. “what works in chicago” ? I wasn’t aware that Chicago’s gun crime has EVER went down.

  22. Bobb Barr, the man who voted for the patriot act and now is against it, calls out McCain for flip flopping, hmmmmm. Barr has also said that the war on drugs is a success, and now he is running as a libertarian, and now although the war on drugs was so successful in his opinion, he is flip-flopping. Barr is much further right-wing than McCain is, he is going to get his votes from the Limbaugh/Rove branch of the GOP not the Goldwater/Paul side. Barr better examine his own flip flopping and figure out what he actually believes in before he goes after McCain.

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