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News & Editorials


October 17, 2001

Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms 
12500 N.E. Tenth Place
Bellevue, WA 98005   
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Alan Gottlieb (206) 999-6126 
Joe Waldron & Dave Workman (425) 454-4911  

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON -– Affirming that the Second Amendment is an individual right, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday reversed over 60 years of judicial misinterpretation and anti-gun revisionist history. “This is a milestone victory for gun rights,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “For years, the anti-gun establishment has falsely maintained that the Second Amendment only protects a ‘collective right’ for the states to arm their National Guard units. That myth has just been shattered.” 

Gottlieb has just released his new book Gun Rights Affirmed. In his book, available through, Gottlieb details the history of the Emerson case and the landmark decision by District Judge Sam Cummings, which led to Tuesday’s court ruling. 

Although the court’s decision in U.S. v Emerson was to reverse and remand Cummings’ ruling that cleared Dr. Timothy Joe Emerson of a federal violation of the 1994 Domestic Violence Act, the 5th Circuit held that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual citizen to keep and bear arms, “regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of the militia.” 

In his majority opinion, Judge William Garwood said the government’s interpretation of the 1939 Miller case – that the Second Amendment merely expresses a “collective right” – is not supported by historic fact. He further noted that, “we are mindful that almost all of our sister circuits have rejected any individual rights view of the Second Amendment. However, it respectfully appears to us that all or almost all of these opinions seem to have done so either on the erroneous assumption that Miller resolved that issue or without sufficient articulated examination of the history and text of the Second Amendment.” 

“This is the argument we have been making for years,” Gottlieb said. “The 5th Circuit panel has correctly interpreted both the Miller case and the Second Amendment, and handed gun grabbers a stunning defeat. All of this is detailed in Gun Rights Affirmed.” 

Gottlieb acknowledged that in his special concurrence, Judge Robert M. Parker argued that the Second Amendment is “subject to reasonable regulation.” 

“That will be the new battleground for gun rights,” Gottlieb predicted. “The anti-gunners can no longer pander the myth that there is no individual right to own a gun, so they will undoubtedly argue that ‘reasonable regulation’ includes every Draconian measure on their wish list, such as licensing, registration, one-gun-a-month schemes and much worse. 

“We’re going to fight that battle,” he vowed. “It may take years, and millions of dollars, but we’re going to fight, and we’re going to win.” 

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

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If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. — Winston Churchill

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