The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware upheld the right to keep and bear arms provision of the Delaware State Constitution in early December 2017. The provision was originally enacted in 1987 after passing through two separately elected legislatures. This is good news and certainly in line with Constitution. However, it is the ludicrous claims made in the dissention that is the most egregious part.
Bridgevile Rifle & Pistol Club v. Small was a challenge to the state’s ban on the possession of weapons in state parks and forest. During review, the court ruled that a ban on the possession and carry of guns was unconstitutional under the Delaware Constitutions Article I, Section 20. From delaware.gov:
This appeal concerns guns and, as such, has attracted numerous amici curiae raising politically fraught questions concerning gun rights. However, at its core, this case raises straightforward questions of Delaware constitutional and administrative law. We are asked whether unelected officials from the State’s parks and forest departments, whose power is expressly limited, can ban (except for a narrow exception for hunting) the possession of guns in state parks and forests in contravention of Delawareans’ rights under the State’s constitution. Clearly, they cannot. They lack such authority because they may not pass unconstitutional laws, and the regulations completely eviscerate a core right to keep and bear arms for defense of self and family outside the home—a right this Court has already recognized. As such, the regulations are unconstitutional on their face. Thus, we REVERSE for these reasons and those that follow.
Article I, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution
The meaning is clear:
“A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”
It is interesting to see the logical pretzels the dissent turns in attempting to keep the ban in place. They amount to a number of assertions of Progressive dogma.
Six of the Dumbest Arguments by the Anti-gun Dissenters
Now, here is the part that will really get raise your hackles. The defense in the case made the following assertions by claiming:
- There are no pre-existing natural rights to arms.
- The State never explicitly granted a right to arms in its Constitution, early on, so any legislative acts done before the right was added are grandfathered in.
- The legislature never really intended Section 20 to mean what it says.
- England restricted the right to arms in some times and places, so we can do so as well.
- The Second Amendment never applied to the States until recently, so any reasoning based on Heller and McDonald does not apply.
- Nobody challenged the law before, so it must be Constitutional
While that is the condensed version of the arguments it goes on for pages. The simple summary can be condensed down to saying the dissent believes two things:
- Guns are bad.
- The state should be able to what it wants—and the dissent thinks it is the state…
The Delaware Supreme Court decision was a 5-2 vote. Sadly, that means 40 percent of the justices agreed weak, unsupported views of the dissent. However, that is a lesson that we must learn and keep in mind. There are still six states that do not have some provision in their state constitutions that protect the right to keep and bear arms. Those states are:
- New Jersey
- New York
Arguably, California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have the most draconian laws and are most likely to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of their citizens in the future.
Is your state pro gun? How has it infringed on your Second Amendment rights? Share your answers in the comment section.
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