23 October 2009

Collective right new???

This decision was from 1942, which would put it well before 1970 and says that the Second Amendment: was not adopted with individual rights in mind, but as a protection for the States in the maintenance of their militia organizations against possible encroachments by the federal power.

That sounds pretty "collective" to me. Not only that it's in pretty clear language that it was not adopted with individual rights in mind.

From U.S. v. Tot, 131 F.2d 261 (3rd Cir. 1942)

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides: "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."

The appellant's contention is that if the statute under which this prosecution was brought is to be applied to a weapon of the type he had in his possession, then the statute violates the Second Amendment.

It is abundantly clear both from the discussions of this amendment contemporaneous with its proposal and adoption and those of learned writers since that this amendment, unlike those providing for protection of free speech and freedom of religion, was not adopted with individual rights in mind, but as a protection for the States in the maintenance of their militia organizations against possible encroachments by the federal power. The experiences in England under James II of an armed royal force quartered upon a defenseless citizenry was fresh in the minds of the Colonists. They wanted no repetition of that experience in their newly formed government. The almost uniform course of decision in this country, where provisions similar in language are found in many of the State Constitutions, bears out this concept of the constitutional guarantee. A notable instance is the refusal to extend its application to weapons thought incapable of military use.

The contention of the appellant in this case could, we think, be denied without more under the authority of United States v. Miller, 1939, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S. Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206. This was a prosecution under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the weapon, the possession of which had occasioned the prosecution of the accused, was a shotgun of less than 18 inch barrel. The Court said that in the absence of evidence tending to show that possession of such a gun at the time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, it could not be said that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep such an instrument. The appellant here having failed to show such a relationship, the same thing may be said as applied to the pistol found in his possession. It is not material on this point that the 1934 statute was bottomed on the taxing power while the statute in question here was based on a regulation of interstate commerce.

But, further, the same result is definitely indicated on a broader ground and on this we should prefer to rest the matter. Weapon bearing was never treated as anything like an absolute right by the common law. It was regulated by statute as to time and place as far back as the Statute of Northampton in 1328 and on many occasions since. The decisions under the State Constitutions show the upholding of regulations prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons, prohibiting persons from going armed in certain public places and other restrictions, in the nature of police regulations, but which do not go so far as substantially to interfere with the public interest protected by the constitutional mandates. The Federal statute here involved is one of that general type. One could hardly argue seriously that a limitation upon the privilege of possessing weapons was unconstitutional when applied to a mental patient of the maniac type. The same would be true if the possessor were a child of immature years. In the situation at bar Congress has prohibited the receipt of weapons from interstate transactions by persons who have previously, by due process of law, been shown to be aggressors against society. Such a classification is entirely reasonable and does not (p.267)infringe upon the preservation of the well regulated militia protected by the Second Amendment.