The Second Amendment to the US Constitution famously refers to government being prohibited from infringing on “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…” but, for some reason, some folks out there seem to want to ignore the “and bear” part. After the Heller and McDonald decisions finally laid the rest the mistaken notion that the right to keep and bear arms wasn’t an individual right those who still wish to find some way to keep citizens from arming themselves sought to read the 2nd Amendment in such a way that the right only allowed someone to own a gun in their own home. They seek to make it illegal to actually bear the gun out into public. A case bringing that issue before the courts made it into the Illinois Supreme Court and, effective yesterday, the ISC ruled on the matter. In a unanimous decision in People v. Aguilar, the Court said:
As the Seventh Circuit correctly noted, neither Heller nor McDonald expressly limits the second amendment’s protections to the home. On the contrary, both decisions contain language strongly suggesting if not outright confirming that the second amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. Moreover, if Heller means what it says, and “individual self-defense” is indeed “the central component” of the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, then it would make little sense to restrict that right to the home, as “[c]onfrontations are not limited to the home.” Indeed, Heller itself recognizes as much when it states that “the right to have arms *** was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.
My thanks to Instapundit and the Volokh Conspiracy for the links. This is wonderful news and I find it interesting that it should happen in Illinois, of all places, given the attitude of their largest city on the matter. Of course, it would also provide the largest chance for pressing a case to arrive at a decision like this, so perhaps it’s not so suprising.
The clear text of the 2nd Amendment should make it clear to anyone not deliberately trying to skew the language that it is the right of a free citizen to arm themselves in defense of themselves, their family, their property, their community, their nation, and their God-given rights. It is equally their right to be able to go armed in said manner wherever they may legally be present and, certain narrow exceptions notwithstanding, to be free of governmental interference in doing so.
I applaud the Illinois Supreme Court for this ruling.