The Nevada ACLU has declared its support for an individual’s right to bear arms, apparently making it the first state affiliate in the nation to buck the national organization’s position on the Second Amendment.
The state board of directors reached the decision this month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals to own handguns.
“The Nevada ACLU respects the individual’s right to bear arms subject to constitutionally permissible regulations,” a statement on the organization’s Web site said. “The ACLU of Nevada will defend this right as it defends other constitutional rights.”
“This was the consensus,” said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for ACLU of Nevada. “There really wasn’t a lot of dissent.”
But the state affiliate’s position puts it at odds with the national organization.
The New York City-based ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling, saying in a statement that it interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right to own guns and not an individual one.
Here's the ACLU's position.
Given the reference to "a well regulated Militia" and "the security of a free State," the ACLU has long taken the position that the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right. For seven decades, the Supreme Court's 1939 decision in United States v. Miller was widely understood to have endorsed that view.What's your opinion? Is the dissent of the Nevada branch of the ACLU a hint of things to come? Couldn't the same thing happen in other gun-friendly states?
The Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. In striking down Washington D.C.'s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia.
The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.
What about the idea that all the other ACLU affiliates support the national policy? Do you think they're all wrong? Isn't each branch comprised of lawyers and other professionals who have qualified opinions? We're not talking about a fringe element of radical thinkers, we're talking about the ACLU which represents a major segment of American politics.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.