|Action||Promulgation of new regulation banning concealed firearms in executive branch agency offices|
|Comment Period||Ends 1/27/2016|
In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the right to arms preexisted the Constitution and in that case and in Presser v. Illinois (1886) said that the Second Amendment protected the right from being infringed by Congress. In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court again recognized that the right to arms is individually held and, citing the Tennessee case of Aymette v State, indicated that it protected the right to keep and bear arms that are "part of the ordinary military equipment" or the use of which could "contribute to the common defense." In its first opportunity to rule specifically on whose right the Second Amendment protects, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that the amendment protects an individual right "to keep and carry arms in case of confrontation," not contingent on service in a militia, while indicating, in dicta, that restrictions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, on the carrying of arms in sensitive locations, and with respect to the conditions on the sale of firearms could pass constitutional muster. In the 2010 case of McDonald v. Chicago, the Court applied incorporation doctrine to extend the Second Amendment's protections nationwide.
The people's right to have their own arms for their defense is described in the philosophical and political writings of Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, Machiavelli, the English Whigs and others. Though possessing arms appears to be distinct from "bearing" them, the possession of arms is recognized as necessary for and a logical precursor to the bearing of arms. Don Kates, a civil liberties lawyer, cites historic English usage describing the "right to keep and bear their private arms."
Likewise, Sayoko Blodgett-Ford notes a non-military usage of the phrase in pamphlet widely circulated by the dissenting minority dating from the time of the Pennsylvania ratifying convention for the U.S. Constitution:
"[T]he people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed..."