Revisiting the basic premise of the Second Amendment and striking down gun legislation for the first time in 216 years would have ripple effects through this entire network of state and local regulation. Although the Court ruled in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886), that the Second Amendment limits the power only of the federal government, the decision relied on the importance of militias as a check on federal power. Separating the right to bear arms from the maintenance of a well regulated militia would cast doubt on the authority of state and local governments to regulate firearms. Such a ruling would thus invite challenges to hundreds of state and local restrictions, thrusting upon the courts difficult policy judgments about the reasonableness of individual regulations.
William H. Neukom
January 11, 2008
President American Bar Association
Brief of the American Bar Association as amicus curiae supporting petitioners.
[Would Neukon have expressed the same concerns if the case under consideration had been freeing the slaves, granting minorities equal access to the law, or allowing women access to abortion? Besides I don’t see there being any difficulty in judging the reasonableness of individual regulations when the wording of the Second Amendment is so clear, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Hence, if the regulation impedes, rather than assists, the people in keeping and bearing arms the regulation is unreasonable. Next case please.–Joe]