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March 1, 2013

Traditionally Lawful Purposes

Joe Charlebois

In the 2008 the Supreme Court ruled in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”


In Heller, the majority opinion by the justices held that residents of the District of Columbia were entitled to the use of handguns within their homes. It also removed the restrictions that kept other weapons – shotguns and rifles – free of ammunition and bound by trigger locks. The court held that the ban on handguns and restrictions on long guns amounted to a prohibition on the use of weapons for self-defense.


Since the Heller decision clarified the constitutionally-established individual right to bear arms, proponents of overt gun control and prohibition can no longer make the claim that the Second Amendment is to be strictly interpreted as a right reserved for “militia” based units.


Weapons have been a part of American life since the United States became a nation unto its own. The have been always been used in self-defense to protect life and property. They played a critical role in being able to gain freedom and liberty. Without the use of the common man’s weapon in support the colonial rebellion against the mightiest nation in the world, we would be a totally different people today.


Although times have changed and defense of our nation is handled by a standing military – that provides for our nation’s defense – our needs to protect our individual lives and property are still as important as ever.


The most effective weapon for use of self-defense is a handgun, with several rounds available to the owner, it is easy to maneuver and light enough for even the smallest of persons to use. It has been used for sport and self-defense. Other than those handguns with limited round capacity – like revolvers – any handgun with magazine capability would be able to hold any size magazine.


Shotguns – the weapon of choice for Vice-President Joe Biden – are powerful weapons that are used for self-defense. Even though Mr. Biden swears by his 12 gauge, they are not terribly convenient to use and have limited capabilities in regards to the number of shells that can be fired without reloading. They, of course, are great hunting and sport weapons.


Rifles are used for sport, hunting and self-defense. All modern rifles used today are modeled after rifles that were designed for warfare. So, too, were the muzzleloader and flintlock rifles. At the time they were the same weapons commonly used by the civilian landowner.


Armalite – the company that made the original AR-15 – revolutionized the industry by introducing a quality weapon that was not only light but adaptable. This may be why it is still so commonly in use some 50 years later.


The civilian version and the other similar weapons in its class provide for modification and utility. Because of modifications, the appearance of a black AR-15 may itself look intimidating, but it no different than any other rifle that is a semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles are only capable of shooting one round per trigger pull. They are used in competitions, for hunting, and in self-defense.


The State of Maryland is the latest of many states that is taking advantage of the death of children to push through legislation that will have no effect on the criminal population. The fact that there were over 150,000 background checks that rejected a potential gun buyer in 2009 means little. Only 39 of those 150,000 were denied because they had prior felony convictions or indictments.


In 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation' Uniform Crime Report, 2.6% of all murders committed were committed with a rifle.


The current legislation that will surely pass in Annapolis and be signed into law will do nothing to lessen the number of criminals obtaining firearms, nor will it make us safer. It just means that law abiding citizens who seek to purchase a handgun or long gun will be treated as criminals while a certain sector of political elites – who won't have to go through the process – have fully armed protection.


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