In a long and circuitous piece intended to explain that national reciprocity violates states’ rights, the Christian Science Monitor claimed the right to self-defense was added to the Second Amendment “only recently.”
Their exact claim: “[National reciprocity legislation] has pitted a sense of overriding states’ individual wishes and local character against shifting legal views of the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has expanded only recently to include self-defense.”
This appears to be a not-so-veiled reference to District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), although neither case created or added a right to the Second Amendment. Rather, the ruling in Heller reaffirmed the individual nature of the rights that had always been protected by the Second Amendment and the ruling in McDonald held that the rights protected by the Second Amendment are incorporated via the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, they are doubly protected.
To be clear, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the McDonald majority opinion and did use a small portion to explain that self-defense is “the central component” of the Second Amendment, but he did not do this because SCOTUS made it central. Rather, he did it as a way of showing self-defense has always been a crucial right protected by the Second Amendment. It was the centrality of self-defense that supported the ruling of incorporation, not the other way around.
Nevertheless, the Christian Science Monitor says the right to defend oneself was added to the Second Amendment “only recently.”
They also suggested Americans may not even possess a right to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. They said, “The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether there is a right for law-abiding Americans to carry a concealed weapon.” This would be strange thinking to our Founding Fathers, who risked their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, to secure the exercise of God-given rights that predate the United States, and certainly the Supreme Court.
The Founders hedged in the right not simply to keep arms but to bear them as well, as the Second Amendment plainly states. And the Founders also used the words “shall not be infringed” to ensure a widespread understanding that keeping and bearing arms was not something placed under the purview of government. Rather, it was (and is) a natural right possessed and exercised by free men.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.