Handguns in homes okay with area residents

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

American citizens’ rights to protect themselves and their homes became less complicated with the help of the nation’s highest court.

The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing licensed handguns in homes for self defense purposes was the first time the law was interpreted since its ratification, according to a story by the Associated Press.

The Second Amendment allows citizens the right to bear arms, but the wording of the amendment leaves it up for interpretation.

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William Kennedy, an attorney and Ironton resident, said guns are needed in homes in some areas.

“In bigger cities, it would pose some of a problem,” Kennedy said. “In some areas, it is needed for people to protect their homes.”

Brigham Anderson, an attorney and assistant Lawrence County prosecutor, said the Supreme Court’s ruling is an appropriate legal interpretation of the Constitution and the ruling is the right decision.

“It is a great ruling for the second amendment and a historical ruling,” Anderson said. “It affirms the purpose; the right to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court stated the overall principle; laws can’t be passed to limit the rights of individuals.”

However, others say it will take some time to see the effects of the new interpretation.

“It is too early to know how much of a constitutional straitjacket the new rule will create,” Steven Shapiro,

American Civil Liberties Union’s national legal director, said.

The Supreme Court ruled against the gun ban in Washington, D.C., but the laws to own a handgun remain.

“Usually a lot of the criminal elements are able to get them if you are supposed to have them or not,” Kennedy said.

The restrictions concerning felons and mentally ill individuals remain and Anderson said he agrees with the Supreme Court upholding the restrictions.

“For the common individual, I think it is appropriate for them to be able to possess firearms for their protection,” Anderson said.

Buddy Frye, president of the Lawrence County Wild Turkey Federation, said the ruling was proper.

“I interpret the Second Amendment as ‘If you don’t have armed people, you can’t have a militia when it is needed,” Frye said. “It didn’t say ‘Let there be an armed militia and that’s the only time people should have guns.”

He said he thinks the amendment was written correctly for the late 1770s.

“If it was signed today, it probably would not have been written that way,” Frye said. ”But that was then, and that’s what it said.”