July 16, 2008

Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan Statement on Supreme Court's Decision in District of Columbia V. Heller

ATF Acting Director ATF Michael J. Sullivan released the following statement on the recent Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia et. al. v. Heller:

ATF is pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms, including for private purposes unrelated to militia operations. The court's ruling is in accordance with the text of the Second Amendment, historical practice, and the Attorney General's 2001 guidance on the scope of the Second Amendment, and is consistent with the bureau's understanding of the scope of the Second Amendment.

The Bureau also is pleased that the court appropriately made clear that nothing in [the] ruling casts doubt on the constitutionality of “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

ATF Acting Director ATF Michael J. Sullivan

In addition, the court appropriately recognized that the “carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons,” such as machineguns, is not protected by the amendment. The bureau is studying the decision, but expects that it will not affect its continued enforcement of all existing federal firearms laws.

Comments (13)

To better understand the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution it is helpful to consider how almost every reasonable person would interpret this amendment if it did not involve something which is considered controversial or politically incorrect by some and idolized by others. Arms in the possession of ordinary citizens meet both criteria. Let's, for the sake of argument, suppose that the Second Amendment dealt with books, not arms or weapons, and read like this: "A well educated electorate, being necessary to the maintenance of a free State, the right of the people to own and read books, shall not be infringed." Does anyone really believe that liberals would claim that only people who were eligible to vote should be allowed to buy and read books? Or that a person should have to have voted in the last election before the government would permit him or her to buy a book? Would the importation of books be banned if they did not meet an "educational purpose" test? Would some States limit citizens to buying "one book a month"? Would inflammatory "assault books" be banned in California?

Posted by: John T | July 21, 2008 12:58 PM    Report this comment

The Militia Act of 1792 clarifies the role of the militia and requires all able-bodied men ages 18 to 45 to be equipped to serve and participate in annual muster

I looked it up. Still looking for the other part that requires the appropriate arms.

Posted by: Sourdough | July 18, 2008 4:38 PM    Report this comment

The Militia Act of 1792 clarifies the role of the militia and requires all able-bodied men ages 18 to 45 to be equipped to serve and participate in annual muster

I looked it up. Still looking for the other part that requires the appropriate arms.

Posted by: Sourdough | July 18, 2008 4:37 PM    Report this comment

Right on, Thomas B! That's exactly what I have always done and will continue to do. It has been problematic.....I was once, 10 years ago, harangued and harassed by the Illinois State Police for two hours, while I was passing
through their state from Michigan to my home in
Texas. I was carrying concealed (with Texas CHL), and I also had several firearms in my car. The police stopped me, ostensibly because
they said I was "going a little fast". The truth, however, came out when one of them slipped and said that they stopped me because I had an NRA decal on my car. They found some
seven of the nine firearms I had in the car, taking them into the police vehicle, but after my arguments concerning Second Amendment rights, the more mature officer gave all of the
weapons back to me. To this day, I avoid the
totalitarian state of Illinois, instead routing
my trips through more "Second Amendment friendly states". And, I don't spend any money
in Illinois. When I communicated this incident
to the Illinois State Rifle Association, they
apologized for the treatment I received, and they also said that my story was a common one, although, most folks had their firearms confiscated. I think I was able to retain my
firearms, because the cops were intimidated by my knowledge of constitutional law. The message, here, is.....KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! And be
willing to stand up for them and be counted.

Posted by: canovack | July 18, 2008 12:34 PM    Report this comment

You think the Director of the ATF would have learned by now, wishing doesn't make it so. The 2nd Amendment makes no provision for the regulation of arms, it emphatically says quite the opposite as in "Shall Not Be Infringed". That means keep you unlawful regulations to yourself bub.If I don't commit a criminal act with it I can take it anywhere in the USA I want to.

Posted by: TBILL | July 18, 2008 12:16 PM    Report this comment

There seems to be a misconception among the media and the anti-gunners that the ruling by the Supreme Court does not change anything. This is abviously not true. The ruling clearly verifies the substance and meaning of the Second Amendment and makes many of the existing gun control laws null and void. Anyone who does not understand this should take a course in remedial reading comprehension. I suspect there will be a large number of cases going to court regarding the enforcement of these unconstitutional laws. I sympathize with law-enforcement officers who will be "caught-in-the-middle" in these cases. They may find themselves spending a lot of time in court, unless the laws are changed or suspended.

Posted by: Okie Dokie | July 18, 2008 11:24 AM    Report this comment

We are all still waiting for the National Right to Carry which will solidify the other part of the Second Amendment's "keep and bear arms".

Posted by: HARV A | July 18, 2008 10:40 AM    Report this comment

Ya'll are thinking of Switzerland, they have to maintain their service weapon in there home until age 65 and ah does believe that they are doing away with that law.

Posted by: firstsoldier | July 18, 2008 5:54 AM    Report this comment

There is no Federal law requiring all adult male citizens to buy and maintain small arms. If such a law were in existence, The Second Amendment issue would have been settled long ago.

Posted by: steve2334 | July 18, 2008 3:41 AM    Report this comment

Where can I find a copy of this law and if it does exist why is it not being enforced????

Posted by: hillcats | July 17, 2008 7:39 PM    Report this comment

With all of the discussions of the latest ruling on the 2'nd amendment, and how is doesn't prohibit regulation, no on has mentioned the federal law that requires all adult male citizens to buy, maintain, and know how to use small arms "appropriate to the current military service". Obviously, this federal requires us to have fully auto, or select-fire, small arms in case we're needed by our country. That would mean that it is our duty to have M-16's at the very least, and to have them operative and ready to go.
I don't remember the date that this law was passed, but it has been on the books for a long time.

Posted by: Sourdough | July 17, 2008 6:34 PM    Report this comment

canovack, I agree wholeheartly

Posted by: JIM S | July 17, 2008 4:55 PM    Report this comment

While this reaction of BATFE is not unexpected, it still is quite ludicrous to maintain prohibitions on lawful carry in the
so-called "sensitive places", since only the
law abiding will act in accordance with these
prohibitions. The criminals and mental defectives will continue to use those "sensitive places" as killing zones, since they will be encouraged that nobody else
except them will be armed.

Posted by: canovack | July 17, 2008 4:50 PM    Report this comment

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