On September 23 the Los Angeles Times editorial board restated the paper’s position that the individual right to keep and bear arms was created by the Supreme Court via District of Columbia v Heller (2008). The board then made clear their belief that SCOTUS “erred” in doing this and reasserted that the Second Amendment was meant to cover a collective right, not an individual one.
According to the Times, “The Supreme Court erred in the initial Heller decision by upending an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that had been embraced for half a century — that the amendment’s reference to a ‘well-regulated militia’ limits the right to keep and bear arms to organized military units, such as the National Guard.”
The timing of the Times‘ piece is not happenstance. They are revisiting these things in light of a September 18 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision which struck down some gun controls that have continued in the wake of Heller, while preserving others. The fact that some gun controls related to the District’s gun registration scheme were able to stand leads the Times to conclude that while Americans now have a right to own guns individually, this does not topple “the government’s right to regulate ownership.”
Now the government has rights?
Breitbart News previously reported that the basis for the Times‘ claims that the right to keep and bear arms was created in 2008 is simply to keep the Heller decision in play so it can be reversed once the makeup of the court shifts. On June 27, 2008–one day after the Heller verdict was handed down–the Times contended:
Presented with two historically plausible arguments about whether the 2nd Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court on Thursday opted for the interpretation less suited to a 21st century America bedeviled by gun crime. That’s the disappointing part of the court’s long-awaited ruling striking down the District of Columbia’s strict gun-control ordinance.
The goal since that time has been to preserve a perception of error so that the case–and gun rights with it–can be revisited and reversed at a future date.
In 2012 the The New York Times staked out similar ground by contending that our Founding Fathers never intended to protect an individual right. Rather, the emergence and recognition of such a right is the result of a 2008 misinterpretation by the Supreme Court.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.