Remember, the 2nd Amendment is only a FEDERAL limit...

The U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from restricting your right to bear arms (notice I didn't say it gives you the right to them...rights are part of all human life, and the Constitution only prohibits infringement of them). However...state and local laws are free game, as we saw yesterday:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Voters approved ballot measures to ban handguns in San Francisco and urge the city's public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters.

The gun ban prohibits the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and makes it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses.

Only two other major U.S. cities - Washington and Chicago - have implemented such sweeping handgun bans.

Yeah, and it worked great for those two "low crime" cities, eh? Hey, SF...prepare to have your crime rate double, now that criminals know you're unarmed when they break into your house.

Update: Even the SF police didn't want the ban.


  1. Just checking...Wouldn't the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution override any state law regarding the banning of guns, if someone challenged any ban? Heck, even the Commerce Clause could be used to overturn useless gun bans.

  2. Keifer:

    No. There are two Supreme Court decisions that say specifically that the Second Amendment only protects against Federal and not State infringement on the right to arms: U.S. v Cruikshank (1875), and Presser v Illinois (1886), which used Cruikshank as precedent. Neither decision has been overturned by the Supreme Court, so there is no chance of the Federal government doing anything about it.

    On the other hand, the California's laws are supposed to prevent municipalities from enacting their own firearms laws. It's supposed to be done at the state legislature level only, so it's likely, but not guaranteed, that the California court system will overturn the referendum.

  3. Actually the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1, applies the Second to constituent states at the same time as the rest of the Bill of Rights: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States...".

    It's the same amendment that prevents the States from establishing a religion, controlling speech, quartering troops in your home, requiring spouses to testify against spouses, etc. The Supreme Court doesn't actually have the authority to change it and any decisions otherwise are legally void, but of course that means very little in practical terms, and Kevin is quite right in terms of what will actually be enforced.

  4. Stare decisis by the black robes notwithstanding, I'll go with William Rawle on this.

  5. I'm clearly not a lawywer as I'm confused as to how "Congress shall make no law..." can limit the actions of any government (local, state, federal) entity, but "...shall not be infringed" doesn't apply to the same government entities.

    (Yes, I've heard of incorporation and the 14th ammendment... but just reading the words doesn't make any sense)


  6. Wow, good arguments all around. Had forgotten about the SCOTUS decisions. (Although, Keith, they have used the Commerce Clause for some far-out reasons, even ones which seemed clearly non-intrastate. Wickard v. Filburn, lately Gonzales v. Raich)

    But yeah, that 14th certainly sticks out. Last time I checked, I had the right to life (endowed by my Creator, the FSM, heh), and to defend it, especially (as originally intended) from an oppressive government that wants to take that right away. It's a "Doomsday Clause."

    And I'm certainly NEVER moving to England. Was browsing David's site...they don't even want you to be able to make bullets now?

  7. Ok, addressing my original post about state and local laws for banning guns. Should not be allowed. End of discussion. Go read this:

    "At the time the [Bill of Rights] was written, there was no federal militia. There were only state militias which together constituted the American militia. So when the Second Amendment says 'A well regulated militia,'... to whom, exactly, is the amendment directing its prohibition about not disarming the people? Of course it must directing the prohibition to the states -- the only entities with militias."

    I won't even say there's a defensible moral argumenet for taking away my right to self-defense. Oh, if you need a good long read though, here.