Assemblyman Hagman supports the recent Supreme Court decision that upholds our Constitutional right to bear arms.
Californians who legally own firearms can be encouraged by last month’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. In a landmark decision, the Court found that the constitutional right to bear arms applies not just to the federal government, but to state and local governments as well. In other words, owning a gun in the home for self defense is now officially recognized as a fundamental American right that cannot be violated by overzealous politicians on any level of government.
This is a remarkable defense of our Second Amendment right. This specific issue came about because Chicago instituted a misguided city-wide ban on handguns, which was intended to clamp down on deadly gun violence. Instead of just targeting thugs, it restricted law-abiding residents from owning guns to protect themselves in their own homes. Thankfully the Supreme Court saw it correctly, acknowledging that “Self defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day,” as Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. The Court’s ruling recognizes the original intent of the Second Amendment which provides that: “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
However, this victory is only a first step, as it is still unclear where the decision will lead for the future of our current gun laws and those that could be enacted in the future. Indeed, Justice Alito wrote that the ruling “does not imperil every law regulating firearms.” In the years going forward there will be significant battles over the true meaning of this ruling, and the numerous complex rules and regulations governing firearms. Particularly in California, the ruling gives Second Amendment supporters a powerful argument to challenge dubious proposals that hurt lawful gun owners. We now need to work on challenging the most restrictive laws that are already in place. While no one can predict the long-term consequences of the Court’s ruling, there is a good chance it will lead to future victories over restrictions on Second Amendment rights and force lawmakers to think twice before passing more burdensome laws.
Government has a critical responsibility to help ensure the safety of our families, but it needs do act in ways that respect our rights as a free people. We can keep our communities safe by improving enforcement of existing laws that target criminals who use guns. Taking guns away from the “bad guys” and putting them behind bars will make California safer, without targeting law-abiding citizens.
With the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation at the judicial level, I hope we can now move beyond debating attempts to undermine the Second Amendment in the Legislature. It is time for lawmakers to stop undermining lawful gun owners with more restrictive measures and to start working on issues that matter most to hardworking Californians, such as job creation.