RICHMOND, Va. (Dec. 2, 2015) – A bill prefiled in the Virginia House of Delegates takes an interesting first step toward protecting the right to keep and bear arms from federal infringement by defining it in statute as an individual right unconnected with the militia.
Delegates Mark L. Cole and (R) Charles D. Poindexter (R) prefiled House Bill 49 (HB49) on Nov. 25. The short bill essentially codifies the Supreme Court opinion handed down in District of Columbia v. Heller. The legislation amends the Virginia code, adding a section that states:
“The right to keep and bear arms conferred by Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is an individual right that is unconnected with militia service.”
The legislation goes on to clearly state the intent of the language.
“That it is the expressed intent of the General Assembly that this act codify the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).”
The opinions of Supreme Court justices don’t necessarily coincide with the actual, intended meaning of the Constitution. In fact, more often than not they don’t. But in the case of Heller, the majority did properly articulate the original understanding of the Second Amendment.
“The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history…