LA Times: Individual Right To Keep And Bear Arms Created In 2008

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

In a May 22 editorial examining the Obama administration’s push against 3-D printed guns, the LA Times made clear its conviction that the individual right to keep and bear arms was created by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 2008.

The Times contends that the SCOTUS created the right via the District of Columbia v Heller decision. That decision struck down Washington DC’s gun ban on the grounds that the ban went against the “individual right to keep and bear arms,” protected by the Second Amendment.

Without mincing words, the Times responded: “We disagreed, believing that the [Second Amendment’s] reference to “a well-regulated militia” limits the right to keep and bear arms to organized military units.”

On June 27, 2008–just one month after the Heller ruling was handed down–the Times quickly went on record to establish its position that the court had made a mistake.

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.

In December 2012 Breitbart News pointed out that The New York Times was pushing this same theory — the theory that an individual right to keep and bear arms was never our Founders’ intention and that such a right is the result of a 2008 misinterpretation by the SCOTUS.

NYT quoted Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, who said Scalia “read an ambiguous constitutional provision as creating a substantive right” and who described the Heller decision as “a form of judicial activism that is new, yet familiar.”

While it is easy to laugh off the false narrative put forward by the LA Times and the NYT, it is a mistake to do so. And the fact that the LA Times is still pushing the narrative in 2015 is proof enough of why dismissing the effort out of hand is the wrong approach to take.

The proper response is to realize that the left’s goal is to keep alive the theory that the individual right to keep and bear arms rests on a 2008 misinterpretation. By so doing, they hope to keep the door open to a more liberal SCOTUS reversing Heller at some future time, thereby making the ability to keep and bear arms dependent on the laws of individual states rather than on the bedrock, natural right foundation on which our Founding Fathers built.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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