The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear District of Columbia v. Heller.

The case stems from a D.C. armed security guard whose application to have a handgun in his home was denied by the District. The District of Columbia has had a handgun ban since 1976 and limits possession of rifles and shotguns to unloaded, disassembled weapons (“Hang on, Mr. Armed Robber! I’ve got to assemble and load my shotgun…wait, just a minute…I’ve almost got it…there, now I can defend my family!”)

This will be the first time that the Supreme Court has looked at the Second Amendment issue since 1939 in US v. Miller, which concerned whether or not the Constitution protected the right to own a sawed-off shotgun.

One of the issues in question in this case is whether or not the second amendment protects the rights of individuals to own firearms for personal protection (and hunting, and the like), or if it limits firearms possession to a collective “militia.” The Second Amendment states:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

I, of course, tend to err on the side of personal firearms rights. Being a woman, I don’t have much else with which to protect myself against a large, male assailant. At 5’5″ and 125 pounds I’m not much of a scrapper. Get in the face of my 9mm, however, and we can have a talk. And I’m a dang good shot.

In all seriousness, I can’t imagine – if we’re going to take an “intention of the framers” approach – that our forefathers could have ever imagined that any of our governing bodies would require individuals to keep their firearms disassembled and unloaded. Considering the environment in which our founding fathers lived (facing things such as Indian attack and the like), it would have been inconceivable that a man would be limited in the way in which he could protect his home.

Furthermore, by taking away our right to possess our own firearms, the government would quite simply be requiring us to depend more upon them. Because of the pure and simple fact that criminals are going to have guns whether they are legal or not, we law abiding citizens are left with calling the police as our only option. With no way to defend ourselves against an armed assailant, we have no other choice than to call upon the government and hope that we don’t bleed to death before someone comes to rescue us.

Even if one makes the argument that, while we shouldn’t be allowed to have firearms for self-defense (and I believe one would be hard-pressed to make such an argument effectively), we must remember that our founding fathers wanted us to be able to protect ourselves from our government. A “well regulated militia” – itself an arm of the government – would not be sufficient protection against a tyrannical government.

I have been reading a lot lately about Communism, especially Communism in 20th century Russia. As I read of dictators starving, beating, and executing their citizens, I am even more inclined to believe that we all need to have the ability – through handguns, rifles, shotguns, or whatever – to defend ourselves against our government. How long will it be before the United States falls victim to the evils of one who seeks to be a tyrant? And what are we to do if they have taken away our guns first?

Our Supreme Court Justices will certainly be in my prayers as they hear this case, as it will have a huge impact on just how free our nation will be in the coming years. Arguments are scheduled to begin in early 2008.

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