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The Second Amendment and the Doctrine of Incorporation


Before the Civil War, the Bill of Rights was understood to place limits on the federal government alone, not on state governments. After the Civil War, however, certain provisions in the Bill of Rights were “incorporated,” or held to limit state governments. Today no government in Sacramento, Albany, or Indianapolis may violate our rights to speak our minds or to worship as we choose, for example, than may the government in Washington. 

Our right to bear arms? 

Judge Laurence Silberman:

The interesting question now that is going to go before the Supreme Court is whether the Second Amendment is incorporated. . . . It would be anomalous for the Supreme Court to conclude that the Second Amendment creates or protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, but it does not apply vis a vis the states.

For Judge Silberman’s explanation in full, click here.


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