Recently, I mentioned the Bush administration's apparent reversal of its former position that the Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms is indeed an individual right, and not a "collective" one.
I am, once again, in debt to David Codrea's War on Guns blog, where he has posted an open letter to President Bush, asking for clarification on this vital issue. This is the letter he posted:
Dear Mr. President,I promise soon to start posting stuff of my own soon, and to stop following Mr. Codrea around like a puppy dog, but he keeps posting things that I find too important to not repeat. Mr. Codrea's excellent letter will be swept under the rug and ignored unless many others just like it are received. Please take a few minutes to compose your own letter or email (President@whitehouse.gov; email@example.com).
From Federal Register: December 15, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 241)
[Rules and Regulations]
II.C.6: Security Requirements:
Additionally, nearly all courts have also held that the Second Amendment is a collective right, rather than a personal right. Therefore, despite the Second Amendment collective right to bear arms, the FAA has the authority to prohibit firearms on launch and reentry vehicles for safety and security purposes.
From Laura Montgomery
Office of the Chief Counsel
Federal Aviation Administration:
This rule, including its security requirements, underwent coordination and review within the executive branch. It was reviewed and approved by the Executive Office of the President.
From "President George W. Bush Speaks On The Record":
NRA: Also early on in your Administration, Attorney General John Ashcroft stated his view "that the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms." This was a clear reversal, was it not, of the Clinton Administration's position?
President Bush: It was a clear reversal. It was a position that needed to be reversed--the prior Administration had taken the position that the Second Amendment only applies to state militias and doesn't protect an individual right to bear arms. My opponent issued a press release earlier this year supporting that exact same position. I know that's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution gives people a personal right to bear arms. So we did reverse the Clinton Administration's position, and I think that was the right thing to do.
Mr. President, is it still "the right thing to do"? Clearly, the language that the Senior Attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel for the FAA says was "reviewed and approved by the Executive Office of the President" directly contradicts your earlier stated position.
Some have suggested this is merely a bureaucratic oversight--a staffer issuing routine approval without a meticulous detail check and without your cognizance. Others fear it may signal a change in your administration's official position on the Second Amendment.
If it's the former, will you take immediate steps to revise the Final Rule and delete all references to "collective rights," as well as establish controls to prevent such oversights from happening in future rulemaking?
If it's the latter, will you issue a public explanation of your new position and the reasons behind it?
Your immediate attention and personal response to this matter will be appreciated.
We need to nail this down, folks.