The Right to Bear Arms - KOTA Territory News

The Right to Bear Arms



Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court recently decided that the Second Amendment's guarantee of an individual's right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control law.  The Second Amendment does not apply just to the federal government. 

According to the majority, there is a right to keep handguns in the home for self-defense.  The right to self-defense is fundamental to the American conception of ordered liberty.

The decision is seen by supporters of gun rights as a huge victory, but the practical effect for the future remains unclear because the Court left for another day what kind of gun control laws pass constitutional muster.  It did not even decide the constitutionality of the two gun control laws at issue from Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois.

It's a very interesting decision, chalked full of constitutional history and analysis over the course of 200 pages.  Going forward, there will be a lot of litigation as states and local communities address what is always a contentious issue without much guidance from the Supreme Court.

The decision is McDonald v. City of Chicago, No. 08-1521, decided June 28, 2010. 

E-mail Gary is intended as general information on legal issues affecting us all.  This information should not be relied upon in any particular case and should never be used in lieu of consulting with an attorney.


1.      You see yet another car accident at a spot where there have been many accidents in the past and will be more accidents in the future? 


2.      You learn another person is hurt using a machine that has injured others in the past and will injure others in the future? 


3.      You watch a dangerous practice – like where a school bus parks – you know is a disaster waiting to happen?  


What should you do? 


Try to prevent the next accident, injury, and catastrophe from happening. 


How can you do that? 


Send a letter or email to those responsible – the highway department, the owner and operator of the machine, the school district - putting them on notice of the danger.


Your letter or email will either prompt a "fix" or help the next innocent victim establish liability against those who failed to act.   


Taking a few minutes to write a letter or email can have a huge impact; you can be a difference maker. 

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