Rhode Island’s Attorney General Endorses a Broad and Constitutionally Sensible View of the Second Amendment
At the time of Sondra Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination hearings, Anchor Rising noted that Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch had not joined an amicus brief offered by other state Attorney Generals in the case of McDonald v. Chicago in support of the position that the Second Amendment is protected from state-government abridgement via the Fourteenth Amendment (“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”).
Since that time, the RI Attorney General has signed on to the brief, which makes its case for the incorporation of Second Amendment rights in no uncertain terms…
As history has proven, the right to bear arms provides the foundational bulwark against the deprivation of all our other rights and privileges as Americans—including rights that have already been incorporated against the States by this Court. Accordingly, the Court should hold that the Second Amendment also secures a “fundamental” right that can no more be abrogated by local government than by the federal government….The addition of Attorney General Lynch’s signature to the brief helps bring the total number of state AGs who support the Second Amendment to 38.
Under this Court’s established Due Process jurisprudence, all “fundamental” rights under the Bill of Rights are enforceable against state and local governments—including the Second Amendment. The fundamental nature of the right to keep and bear arms, as necessary to the protection of all other rights, has been deeply embedded in the American conscience at every stage of our history: It was imported into the colonies from English law, sparked the American Revolution, animated the Founding spirit of this Nation, and drove the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and other post-Civil War measures designed to protect recently-freed slaves from both government and private oppression.
If we live in a system based upon the rule of and not the rule of lawyers, it is obvious that, if the the 14th Amendment extends the protections of Amendments 1 and Amendments 3 through 8 to state governments, then the protections of Amendment 2 must also be similarly extended. Whatever other disagreements you may have with him, it is a good thing that Rhode Island’s current Attorney General has taken a public stand in support of this position.