A powerful lobby provides a consistent noise into the ears of our citizenry that these gun purchases are constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment .... Our decisions belie that argument, for the Second Amendment was designed for no other purpose than to keep alive the militia.<quoted text>
"If, then, the arms-bearing right of the people is, as Blackstone says, an integral and inseparable part of their absolute rights as individuals, it follows that any and every constitution which assumes to protect life, liberty and property, necessarily insures the right of all the people to keep and bear arms, unless the contrary intention is clearly expressed, Hence the right is in nowise dependent upon the clause asserting that a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The right exists whether the constitution contains that clause or not...."
"...But "these instruments," he says, "measure the power of the rulers; they do not measure the rights of the governed:" Cooley's Constitutional Limitations 37. "Neither military nor civil law," says the same high authority, "can take from the citizen the right to bear arms for the common defence. This is an inherited and traditionary right, guaranteed, also, by state and federal constitutions...."
"....... For all these repugnances of our statute to the acts of congress, I must pronounce the former unauthorized legislation in all its parts. Let the relator be discharged."
- Judge William Henry Barnum,[People, Ex. Rel. Bielfeld, v. Affelt. Illinois--Cook County Circuit Court. 1879.]
Justice William O. Douglas