Grant Bosse: Finally we can begin reclaiming our 2nd Amendment rights
THE U.S. SUPREME Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller holds that the 2nd Amendment contains an individual right to keep and bear arms. It's a little like the court told us that the sun rises in the east. It's gratifying that the justices got it right, but it's nothing we didn't know already, and it's a little disturbing that four of the nine justices didn't agree.
Political pundits are saying that the Heller decision is a relief to Barack Obama and Democratic gun-control supporters because it takes the issue off the table. The pundits are wrong. The Heller decision moves the debate over gun rights from the courts to the legislative arena.
By upholding an individual right to keep and bear arms, overturning the oppressive handgun ban in Washington D.C., but leaving room for local and state regulations, the court has put Congress and state legislatures front and center. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already pushing for strict gun control restrictions "near schools," without saying how wide such a zone would be.
After Heller, we can follow Pelosi's lead and start to rebuild the wall between law-abiding citizens and their 2nd Amendment rights, or we can roll back the unneeded and harmful restrictions still on the books.
The first step would be to restore the right to carry in our national parks. Current policy prevents Americans from bringing their legal firearms onto many public lands, despite the threats hikers and campers face from predators, both animal and human. By turning our parks into "gun free zones," we've told criminals where to find unarmed victims miles away from any law enforcement.
We should also recognize the right to carry legal firearms across state lines. A national reciprocity law would give law-abiding citizens the freedom to bring their guns with them when they leave home. Cities like Chicago and states like New York would not be able to infringe on their 2nd Amendment rights just because they were passing through. These local gun control laws are likely to face their own legal challenges after Heller, but reciprocity would put a dent in them immediately.
The Supreme Court has read the clear meaning of the 2nd Amendment, and five of the nine justices understood what they read. But the anti-gun lobby will not stop. Neither can supporters of the 2nd Amendment. After Heller, just about everyone will say they support the 2nd Amendment, but voters need to look deeper. Even Barack Obama, who not only supported the D.C. handgun ban but has gone on record calling for even stricter gun control, now claims that the court got it right in Heller. Don't believe him.
New Hampshire gun owners were fooled once by Dick Swett, who claimed to support the 2nd Amendment, but proved in Washington to be a fair-weather fan of our constitutional rights. We've learned to demand more. We'll look beyond those paying lip service to the 2nd Amendment and praising the court for stating the obvious. Which candidates talk about gun rights, and which candidates will help solidify our 2nd Amendment rights by rolling back the gun control agenda and fully restoring our right to keep and bear arms?
Hillsborough Republican Grant Bosse is seeking the Republican nomination in New Hampshire's 2nd District. He is a member of Gun Owners of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, but does not claim to represent the official views of either organization.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
From the Union Leader
Grant was featured in this morning's Union Leader. Grant submitted an op-ed on the Heller Supreme Court decision, and more importantly steps we must take down the road to protect the rights of gun owners.