12/09/02 The Ninth Circuit Court Just Doesn’t Get It
For Immediate Release
December 09, 2002
Contact: Ellie McDaniel
(Springfield, VA) — Gun Owners of America took issue with last week’s Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which upheld the constitutionality of the California state ban on certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. In reaching its decision, the court peddled the mistaken notion that the Second Amendment only applies to the collective right of states to have a militia.
“What a farce,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “The judges failed to get anything right in this recent gun decision.
“The judges tried to list the legitimate uses of firearms, but then failed to even mention self-defense,” Pratt said. “They overlooked the fact that Korean merchants used semi-automatic firearms — many of which are now banned in California — to successfully defend their stores during the Los Angeles riots.
“The Court also ignored several U.S. Supreme Court decisions which have adopted the individual rights view,” Pratt noted, “including decisions ranging from before the Civil War to others as recent as the U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez case in 1991. In the 36 times the Supreme Court has discussed the 2nd Amendment, it has almost always treated firearms as an individual right.
“The Court is not the only federal branch of government to treat the Second Amendment as protecting the rights of individuals. The Fourteenth Amendment was designed to overturn the Jim Crow laws which were backdoor attempts to re-enslave the blacks.
“Opponents in Congress and the state legislatures objected to the Fourteenth Amendment in part because the measure would subject the states to the Second Amendment, thus allowing blacks to be armed. The sponsors of the amendment met these objections with a forceful affirmation to the effect that: ‘That’s what we want to achieve.'”
“The Court cited uncritically the California legislature’s finding that the banned guns were being prohibited because of their use in crime,” Pratt said. “Truth be told, these firearms are used to commit fewer murders than are hands and feet. This has been the case for years — even before the ban was enacted.
“Hopefully the U.S. Supreme Court will keep with its own precedents and throw the Ninth Circuit’s rewrite of the Constitution into the wastebasket where it belongs.” Pratt concluded.
Citation: The case in question is Silveira v. Lockyer, No. 01-15098, December 5, 2002.
— GOA —
Larry Pratt is Executive Director for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151.
Either Larry Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.