Silveira v. Lockyer

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In Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a California gun control statute restricting the possession, use, and transfer of semi-automatic weapons popularly known as "assault weapons."

Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the opinion for the unanimous Court. In a portion of his opinion not supported by the third judge on the panel, Judge Reinhardt declared that the Second Amendment is a collective right rather than an individual right:

In sum, our review of the historical record regarding the enactment of the Second Amendment reveals that the amendment was adopted to ensure that effective state militias would be maintained, thus preserving the people's right to bear arms. The militias, in turn, were viewed as critical to preserving the integrity of the states within the newly structured national government as well as to ensuring the freedom of the people from federal tyranny. Properly read, the historical record relating to the Second Amendment leaves little doubt as to its intended scope and effect.

Judge Reinhardt's opinion includes lengthy discussions of historical evidence and expressly disagrees with the opposite conclusion reached by the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson.

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