If you grew up like I did below the Mason-Dixon Line, it was intuitively obvious to you that the Second Amendment applied to all citizens and legal residents of these United States. On the other hand, legislative bodies, mayors, and judges have long thought otherwise. They held to the notion that the Bill of Rights applied only against the Federal Government.
We the people found that state and local governments could pass legislation that, on the face of it, is unconstitutional. We learned that Jim Crow laws kept a great divide between the races in the South. People living in Federal Enclaves, such as the District of Columbia saw their firearms civil rights denied by their leaders.
In 2008, things started to change. Dick Heller won his case before the Supreme Court, with the court stating:
that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Then, in the 2010 case of Otis McDonald, we finally started having the Second Amendment apply to the states and their subdivisions, in addition to Federal enclaves.
The Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.
Thanks to Heller and McDonald paving the way, and a series of ensuing lawsuits, Chicago residents may now own handguns, and folks in Illinois are able to get a heretofore unobtainable Concealed Carry License.
Now, our friend and firearms civil rights pioneer Otis McDonald has passed away. History will surely bear out that this gentle, unassuming man was a giant in the movement.
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A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)
Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.