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March 18, 2008

What a Difference 2/9 Can Make

This week marks an important step in the quest to determine the role the Second Amendment will play in the national campaign to reduce gun violence. On Tuesday, March 18, the nine members of the Roberts' Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of the District of Columbia v. Heller. The District’s strict gun laws, which have been in effect since 1976, were declared unconstitutional in a lower court decision the Supreme Court will be reviewing.

The ultimate decision of the Justices in the Heller case could determine the scope of gun control legislation across the nation. Or the Court might decide to limit its ruling in a very narrow manner. Either way, the issue will be decided by a minimum of five members of the Court. Two of those members, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., are relatively new appointees of President George W. Bush. Those two Justices have already had a significant impact on the activist role this Court has played in several major cases. What a difference two votes can make on a wide range of important issues!

The Supreme Court debate this week will be an interesting political side-show, but the final decision is not expected until near the end of the Court's term in late June. Whatever the decision of the Court in the Heller case, the real campaign to reduce gun violence can and will continue. No matter their interpretation of the Second Amendment, a wide array of legislative and social action strategies are, and will continue to be, open to the gun safety movement. We at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence renew our thirty-year pledge to you to utilize every possible action to bring an end to the epidemic of gun violence in this nation.


  1. It is not 2/9. It is 6/9. That is the number of supreme court justices that uphold the belief that the 2nd amendment pertains to the individuals right to own firearms. The right of self defense predates the U.S. Constitution and in these violent times we live in it is needed more than ever. It is a simple FACT that gun control laws do nothing to reduce crime. To believe otherwise is foolish at best, given the irrefutable fact that criminals do not obey laws. even the strictist prohibition on firearms would do nothing. Drugs are prohibited but you can buy them on any corner. Think about it. There is only one way to remove the 2nd amendment from the constitution and your side, (vocal as you may be given your numbers) does not have the votes needed to revoke the RIGHT to keep bear arms.

  2. Actually, smart, tough gun control laws are working extremely well in other industrialized democracies to reduce gun violence and limit criminal access to firearms. Here are statistics for Total Gun Deaths in 2004: England 191, Australia 289, Canada 743, United States 29,569. And the one tough gun control law passed by the U.S. Congress in the past 20 years that remains in effect, the Brady Law, has stopped more than 1.4 convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns to date. The problem is our gun control laws in America are, on the whole, incredibly weak, and actually FACILITATE criminal access to firearms. If the political will, was there, that situation could certainly be changed and many lives could be saved.- CSGV