“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
– Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
One of CLDEF’s highest priorities is protecting and defending the Second Amendment. Our work focuses on building on the victories achieved in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) cases, and rolling back draconian gun control laws across the land. CLDEF opposes all gun registration and licensing requirements, regulation of firearms dealers, weapons bans, ammunition bans, etc.
CLDEF urges state and federal courts and agencies to apply the Second Amendment by looking to the “text, history, and tradition” of the Second Amendment as the Supreme Court identified in Heller. This standard stands in stark contrast to the judge-empowering “balancing tests” (e.g., strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, rational basis) that many courts prefer to apply in cases to uphold all manner of restrictions on firearms. As Justice Scalia explained, the Founders did the balancing. It does not matter what modern federal judges think as to the wisdom of the Second Amendment.
Many politicians and liberals claim that firearms ownership should be subject to “reasonable regulation,” but we do not concede that. First, what Senator Diane Feinstein thinks is “reasonable” is somewhat different than what others may think. Second, the Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed” — not that it may be reasonably regulated.
CLDEF fights to protect citizens’ rights to keep and bear all types of “arms,” including what are pejoratively described as “assault weapons,” “large capacity magazines,” and “armor piercing ammunition.” The “arms” described in the Second Amendment referred to modern military weapons of that time — which now includes all modern military weapons of this time.
Below are some of the Firearms Law matters in which CLDEF has been involved.