A recent Face Book discussion prompted by an insightful and thought provoking question from one of our supporters, brought to mind the importance of understanding the “incorporation doctrine” for all who seek to defend the 2nd amendment. The question was posed, “do we support the incorporation doctrine?”
Being a somewhat prolific reader, including many books pertaining to founding principles and our right to keep and bear arms, it was more then a little uncomfortable to not have an immediate answer to a question relating to the 2nd amendment. The term was somewhat familiar but prompted more questions then ready answers. We are not Constitutional lawyers but now want to share a basic but very important understanding of this legal principle:
The incorporation of the Bill of Rights (or incorporation for short) is the process by which American courts have applied portions of the U.S. Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to 1925, the Bill of Rights was held only to apply to the federal government. Under the incorporation doctrine, most provisions of the Bill of Rights now also apply to the state and local governments. – Found here on Wikipedia
The 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms was “incorporated” against the states by the McDonald v. Chicago Supreme court ruling of 2010. Up until this ruling, not withstanding each states own constitution and laws, the right to keep and bear arms could be denied within a state, city, county or town.
For most of us, there is much to be gained by learning more about this important legal principle. Understandably, there are many who believe this process is another example of federal and specifically judicial over reach. Currently the incorporation doctrine is America’s standard for protecting the individual liberties protected by the Bill of Rights on a state and local basis.
The battle to defend the 2nd amendment and restore America to its founding principles will be won through such knowledge.
(Thank you Andrew, for you thoughtful question and commentary.)