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From the 38 state’s AG’s Brief signed by Lori Swanson




Accordingly, the States have
an interest in ensuring that citizens who must travel
in the course of their personal or professional lives
remain free from unconstitutional arrest and
prosecution for engaging in their right to self-defense

by carrying properly-licensed weapons."  p. 2

 

The common thread in these transformative events
in our Nation’s history was the fundamental
importance of the right to keep and bear arms as the
ultimate guarantor of all the other liberties enjoyed by

Americans. The source of the threat to liberty shifted
from the British Crown during the Founding to
oppressive local governments in the post-Civil War era,
but the cure remained the same: recognition and
enforcement of an individual right to keep and bear

arms, as an essential component of the natural right of
self-preservation and the right of “resistance . . . to the
violence of oppression.”  p. 5-6

 

For the vast majority of Americans who do not live
in a federal enclave, the stakes involved in this case
could not be higher. If Chicago’s ban is upheld, it will
confirm that local governments, unrestrained by the

Second Amendment, may deny American citizens what
they could not be denied by the federal government:
the right to possess “the most preferred firearm in the
nation to ‘keep’ and use for the protection of one’s home

and family.” … For untold numbers of Americans, including
the millions of residents of Chicago, such a result will
render the Second Amendment—aptly described as the
“the palladium of the liberties of the republic,” …
—effectively meaningless.  p. 9-10

 

To begin with, the federalism concerns expressed
below are based on the mistaken premise that the
Second Amendment protects state militias against
federal interference. Id. at 859. Heller expressly
rejected the argument that the Second Amendment

addressed any concern about federal control over state
militias.   p. 21

 

To be sure, amici States agree that “[i]t is one
of the happy incidents of the federal system” that each
State may “serve as a laboratory; and try novel social
and economic experiments without risk to the rest of

the country.” New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S.
262, 311 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting) (cited in Nat’l
Rifle Assoc., 567 F.3d at 860). But the discretion of
state and local governments to explore legislative and

regulatory initiatives does not include “the power to
experiment with the fundamental liberties of citizens
safeguarded by the Bill of Rights.” Pointer, 380 U.S. at
413 (Goldberg, J., concurring). As the Court stated in

Heller, “[t]he very enumeration of the right takes out of
the hands of government . . . the power to decide on a
case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth
insisting upon.” 128 S. Ct. at 2821. Just as local

governments cannot constitutionally act as
“laboratories” for initiatives to abrogate their citizens’
right to free speech or their freedom from unreasonable
searches and seizures, nor can they nullify the
fundamental right to keep and bear arms secured by

the Second Amendment.   p. 22-23

 

Many firearms regulations
would plainly survive Second Amendment scrutiny,
such as “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.”   p. 23

 

Indeed, Heller made clear that the Second Amendment
protects an individual right to keep and bear any
weapons that are “in common use” by Americans—that
is, the “sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at

home,” and that they could therefore bring with them
if called to militia duty.   p. 25

 

In short, Chicago fails to recognize that Americans’ right to
possess lawful weapons in common use has remained
implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, even when
those weapons could not be “useful against modern-day

bombers and tanks” and therefore would be of limited
efficacy in modern militia service.   p. 27

 

As the submission of this brief further
demonstrates, Chicago’s position that the right to arms
is of little importance, and may be abrogated at will by
local government, is directly contrary to the view of the

majority of the States.   p. 29

 

 



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