It is also significant that the Second Amendment refers, not to “a right of the people,” but to “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” The Framers’ use of the definite article indicates that the Amendment was intended to secure a pre-existing right rather than to create a new one.
The Court should affirm that the Second Amendment, no less than other provisions of the Bill of Rights, secures an individual right, and should clarify that the right is subject to the more flexible standard of review described above. If the Court takes those foundational steps, the better course would be to remand.
Stephen R. Rubenstein
Chief Counsel Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20226-0001
Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae
[This is from a brief filed in favor of D.C. in the Heller case. If I read it correctly they are concerned that the ATF could be put out of a job because they might no longer be able to regulated the manufacture and sale of firearms and maintain their registry of machineguns. Hence, they want to be left with some power to regulate firearms. I’m not a friend of the ATF (individuals at the ATF is something different) but D.C. surely cannot consider them much of a friend either.–Joe