U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed the suit a year later, upholding the D.C. law, and saying the Second Amendment was narrowly tailored to membership in a "militia" — which he defined as an organized military body.This is either a big editing error — the "that" in "means just that" referring to a definition given three sentences and two paragraphs earlier — or an unwarranted bit of snide (snidish?) editorializing. If the case was just a question of whether "'militia' means just that," the collective rights argument might be stronger. But here's what "militia" means even today:
The case moved on to the appellate court, with the National Rifle Association and numerous states siding with the pro-gun faction, and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other states and cities joining with the District.
In the majority opinion, Silberman wrote that federal and state courts have been divided about the extent of protections covered by the Second Amendment. Some have sided with the position advocated by the District, that a "militia" means just that. Others have ruled that the amendment is broader, covering people who own guns for hunting or self-defense.
1. a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.So what exactly does "'militia' means just that" mean (other than "'militia' means what I want it to mean")? (On top of that, the right is expressly said to be a right "of the people," so what "militia" means is hardly the end of the story.)
2. a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
3. all able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
4. a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.
Incidentally, if the question is whether "militia" in the Second Amendment means just something like the National Guard, that's one thing that the Supreme Court has resolved: "The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." (Today, after the Court's sex equality cases under the Fourteenth Amendment, it would likely include women, too.) The Militia Act of 1792 took a similar view, as does the currently effective Militia Act.
Thanks to PostWatch for the pointer.
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