Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eric Holder's Second Amendment Views Sure To Raise Controversy

Attorney General Eric Holder's views that the Second Amendment only allows for organized militia ownership of firearms is sure to raise a great deal of controversy among gun owners over the next four years. In fact, since the election, the number of Americans seeking federal permits to own a gun has skyrocketed to the highest levels ever recorded, as many fear that the private ownership of guns might be severely limited by new legal efforts of this new attorney general. Holder might attempt to place a higher value or what he views as public safety vs. upholding a strict reading of Second Amendment rights. Certainly this could set up some serious Supreme Court fights and cases.

Gun owners who prefer handguns or assault type rifles are the most fearful of new legal attempts by Holder to limit or ban the sale of such weapons. The fear is that Holder will not try to strike the careful balance between the ownership of guns by law abiding citizens and attempts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill or children. Holder also is worrisome to many who support the First Amendment as well.

What makes Holder such a controversial choice for attorney general is that he holds such restrictive views of many portions of the bill of rights, and may feel that his own views or some misguided sense of public safety could guide his legal views on issues like Second Amendment rights or First Amendment press freedoms.

The current conservative leaning makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court as well as some possible defections of those like Justice John Paul Stevens who seems to champion the Bill Of Rights should probably be more than enough to strike down any overreaching attempts by Holder to go too far. However, Holder might clearly attempt some new law enforcement tactics to weaken the Second Amendment as well as First Amendment freedoms. His legal philosophy is very disturbing to strong upholders of Bill Of Rights freedoms in all areas.

There are also some disturbing federal cases that Holder might attempt to champion. In one case, a gun owner loaned a legal assault weapon to a friend that misfired at a shooting range, and the federal government then brought illegal machine gun charges against the gun owner who has faced huge legal bills as well as serious criminal charges. It is pretty obvious that this was a fully legal weapon, and that the illegal machine gun charges are simply overreaching and unfair. However, Holder might choose for the Justice Department to champion such outrageous cases in an effort to mount up a number of legal challenges to weaken the Second Amendment.

My own personal feelings are that guns might cause a great deal of problems in society, however the Second Amendment does very clearly allow for the ownership of private firearms. And my personal fears are that Eric Holder might hold views where he believes far less in upholding the Bill Of Rights, than what he believes best suits his own legal philosophy of law or what he thinks is in the best interests of society. That can be very dangerous to the Bill Of Rights, and should be a subject of great concern to any civil libertarian.


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