Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Second Amendment takes to the skies

OK--that's a little strong (sometimes I get a bit overly dramatic), but this is unquestionably some very good news. A couple months ago, I referred (here and here) to an alarming development pointed out by David Codrea at War on Guns (here).

For those who might be new to the issue (and believe me--it didn't get much press--certainly not in the mainstream media, and as far as I know, not from the gun rights organizations, either), I'll give a quick recap. Basically, the Federal Aviation Administration, realizing that commercial space travel may soon be a reality, has started to put together some rules (something like 120 pages worth) to handle that (a government agency just has to have rules, you know). One of the rules they came up with was a complete prohibition of firearms (and other weapons) on launch and reentry vehicles. Whatever your thoughts on the wisdom of that particular rule, it's the FAA's justification that should have raised hackles (actually, more than hackles--it should have triggered a full-throated howl of protest). This "justification" was based on our old friend, the "collective rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment.

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.
Apparently, most of the gun rights activist community who saw this decided it wasn't worth getting excited about. This strikes me as more than a little odd--after finally getting the federal government to acknowledge that the Second Amendment protected an individual right (as stated unequivocally by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, and confirmed by President Bush), we're going to be indifferent to a reversal of that position? This is much bigger than "guns in space"--this is about whether or not the Second Amendment has any real purpose.

So, Mr. Codrea asked the Bush administration about it, and urged the rest of us to do the same. Frankly, although I believed in what David was trying to do, I held out very little hope for it's success. I sent the emails, and tried to raise a bit of consciousness about it here, but I never expected it to go anywhere.

Hmm--looks as if my "quick recap" ran a little long--sorry. Anyway--fast forward to yesterday, and this.
SUMMARY: When the FAA issued a final rule on human space flight, it described one rule as consistent with the Second Amendment of the Constitution because, among other things, the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment is a collective right. The FAA now withdraws that characterization and amends its description. . . .

In explaining this rule in response to a comment, the FAA characterized the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution as ``a collective right.'' 71 FR at 75626. The FAA now withdraws that characterization of the right to bear arms.
The FAA still plans to ban weapons on these craft--whether or not that is right is a matter for another debate. The larger issue is that the mythical "collective right" is back where it should be--in the trash.

As I've said before, I'm convinced that Mr. Codrea fought this battle virtually alone (to my shame, my contribution was minimal, at best). We will all share in the spoils of his victory, but it will remain his victory.

Well done, David, and thank you.