Appeals Court Splits on Key Gun-Rights Case

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Six judges of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dissented on a major Second Amendment case, a possible prelude to a Supreme Court reconsideration of the issue. The short-term result was a reaffirmation of a ruling that there is no constitutional right for individuals to keep and bear arms, the Los Angeles Times said.

The decision upheld California’s Assault Weapons Control Act. It declared that the Constitution’s

Second Amendment protects only the right of states to organize and maintain militias–a conclusion at odds with the Bush administration and a ruling by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The Supreme Court often hears cases on which federal appellate courts have issued contrary opinions.

One 9th Circuit dissenter, Alex Kozinski, said that the court’s “majority falls prey to the delusion – popular in some circles – that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth – born of experience – is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.”


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