American Rifleman - July 2019 - 18

ILA STORY
By Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA
Executive Director

Working Together To Save
The Second Amendment Part III:

VICTORIES IN THE COURTS

O

ver the last two months, I've
written about NRA's extremely
successful efforts to defend
and advance our rights protected
under the Second Amendment through
aggressive legislative campaigns; both
at the federal and state level.
Legislative victories, however, are
by no means permanent solutions to
ensure that the rights of law-abiding
gun owners will be protected from
those dedicated to eliminating our
freedoms. Almost without fail, the
moment pro-Second Amendment
reforms are enacted, the most virulent
anti-gun legislators race to file bills
to overturn the new laws. At the
same time, as if carefully coordinated,
left-wing ideologues dedicated to
eradicating guns in America sprint to
the courtrooms of activist judges to file
suits against any law deemed beneficial
to law-abiding gun owners.
Don't get me wrong; legislative
victories are vitally important. But with
one bad election cycle, rare though
they may be, such victories can be
short-lived, and a pro-gun reform can be
watered down or repealed if a legislature
is turned anti-gun. Furthermore, one
anti-gun judge could ignore-as many

18

have-legislative intent and court
precedent in order to neuter laws
intended to protect our rights.
One could say that legislation is
often written in sand, but judicial
rulings frequently are carved in stone.
Thiat is why this third installment of
my discussion of NRA successes will
focus on the one area where victories
could ensure the Second Amendment
is protected for generations.
I'm speaking, of course, about the
courts.
Today, we are at a point in time
when the rights of law-abiding gun
owners are on more solid legal
ground-especially when it comes to
the federal judiciary-than probably
anyone alive today can remember.
That hasn't happened by accident,
and it didn't happen overnight.
Anyone reading this is undoubtedly
aware of the significant rulings by the
Supreme Court in the landmark cases
of District of Columbia v. Heller and
McDonald v. City of Chicago. The
Supreme Court found in Heller that
the Second Amendment-as you and
I already understood-protects an
individual right and struck down D.C.'s
ban on the possession of handguns and
JULY 2019

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

other functional firearms in the home for
self-defense. Because that ruling only
applied to the federal government, it
took the ruling in McDonald to ensure
that the individual rights' protections
were "incorporated" to apply against
state and local infringements.
In its early years, the Supreme
Court determined that the provisions
of the Bill of Rights (i.e., the first 10
amendments to the U.S. Constitution)
only apply directly to protect individual
rights against violations by the federal
government and its agents. Even
after the Fourteenth Amendment
was adopted in 1868-and despite
its primary framer espousing that
it should be interpreted to extend
the protections of the first eight
Amendments of the Bill of Rights-it
took until the 1920s for the Supreme
Court to truly begin determining that
states, like the federal government,
were prohibited from imposing
restrictions on our rights.
As I said, we didn't get to the
Heller and McDonald era overnight.
While the Supreme Court worked
piecemeal-and over decades-to
incorporate other rights, it ignored the
Second Amendment.



American Rifleman - July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2019

Contents
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Cover1
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Cover2
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Contents
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 5
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 6
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 7
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