A decision today by the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco not to reconsider a December case in which two of its judges ruled the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right neither surprised, nor alarmed, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), .

“We are, after all, talking about the most over-turned federal appeals court in the country,” observed SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “This is the same court that ruled the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional because it contains the phrase ‘under God’.”

Whether the case of Silveira v. Lockyer – in which a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Second Amendment did not “afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession” – now moves to the U.S. Supreme Court remains in question. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling deliberately took an opposing view to a 2001 ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans, in the case of U.S. v. Emerson, that the Second Amendment is protective of an individual right. The Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft has adopted the individual rights position.

Gottlieb praised Judge Alex Kozinski for urging his fellow judges to reconsider the case with a larger 11-member panel. His compelling argument was that the Second Amendment is an insurance policy against tyranny. Judge Kozinski said the Second Amendment was written “for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed, where the government refuses to stand for re-election and silences those who protest, where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees.”

“Judge Kozinski is a rare standout on the Ninth Circuit,” Gottlieb stated. “The Ninth Circuit’s December opinion was written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a leftist judicial activist. He’s the same judge who considers the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional.

“While gun rights activists may be disappointed,” Gottlieb concluded, “they are not discouraged. The Ninth Circuit made a preposterous ruling in December, and we are confident that it will not stand the test of time or scrutiny.”

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