George and several of his fellow hunters took aim at a state statute that required identification cards for anyone who wanted to purchase a rifle. Calling upon the aid of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and other framers of the United States Constitution, the would be riflemen insisted, in effect, that the statute requiring an identification card to purchase a rifle would cause Jefferson and Adams to spin around their graves.
The would-be Minutemen insisted that the statute violated their Constitutional rights and to their assertion to court.
"The state cannot taketh away what the Constitution giveth," they told the judge, "and the Constitution gives all citizens the right to bear arms. With all the red tape and forms required to obtain a license, the statute impedes a person's desire to purchase a rifle, and therefore, it's unconstitutional."
"While the new statute may require the completion of a few forms," responded the state's attorney, "it may turn up a few lunatics who shouldn't be allowed to own a rifle. To duck the statute now, may allow us to escape having to duck some crack-pot's bullets later on. Ergo: the statute is reasonable and necessary."
If you were the judge, would you shoot down the gun control law as being unconstitutional?
This is how the judge ruled: No! The judge held that under a state's police powers, the common good of citizens takes precedence over private rights, which may be curtailed when reasonable and necessary. In this case, concluded the judge, the requirement that a license be required to possess a rifle is both reasonable and necessary.
-- based upon a 1968 New Jersey Supreme Court decision
WRITER'S NOTE: The ruling above in the 1968 New Jersey Supreme Court case is consistent with the ruling in the United States Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller 554U.S. 570 (2008) in which the Supreme Court ruled that "the right secured by the 2nd Amendment in not unlimited" (p.33, lines 8-12), which language clearly suggests that ownership of guns is subject to reasonable and necessary regulation. To date, while several state legislatures have imposed controls on gun ownership -- such as set forth in the New Jersey case above -- the U.S. Congress has been extremely lax in following suit.