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IPFS News Link • Gun Rights

Your Gun Is None of the Government's Business

• By Andrew P Napolitano

I understand that politicians often say and do things that they inwardly know are unconstitutional or unlawful in order to please their political bases, but vaguely threatening the Supreme Court over a fundamental liberty is an offense to the Constitution.

Here is the backstory.

Until the early 1930s, gun regulation in America was tepid at best. You signed up; you bought a gun; you told the authorities you wanted to carry it; they gave you a permit; you were registered with the state in which you lived. No bureaucrat made a subjective judgment as to your moral worth to own and carry a gun. The language of the Second Amendment was interpreted to mean that law-abiding persons could own and carry a registered handgun.

Then along came Miller. Miller was a federal case in which the defendant was arrested for carrying a gun across state lines that had a barrel that was too short. Miller had lawfully purchased a rifle and then shortened the barrel, thus creating what was commonly called a sawed-off shotgun. During the Prohibition era, Congress criminalized transporting them across state lines. These weapons were lawful to own and use in most states, but not to transport from one state to another.