In the discussion thread: another legal question. Why is operating a motor vehicle a privilege and operating a gun a right? [View all]
Response to srican69 (Original post)
Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:27 PM
X_Digger (16,098 posts)
10. We have the "right to travel" (an unenumerated right protected by the ninth)
And a right to own property (English common law, also protected by the ninth, fourth, and fifth).
We don't have a specific right to operate a motor vehicle on public roads.
You have a right to drive a car in your back field until the wheels fall off. Lots of "farm vehicles" are driven by teenagers without licenses or insurance, or heck even registration.
It's when you get out onto public roads that you turn from a right to a privilege.
eta: hit submit instead of preview..
As far as guns, the right to arms pre-dates the constitution, but having an explicit protection helps.
From US v Cruikshank (1876)-
The right of the people peaceably to assemble for lawful purposes existed long before the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. In fact, it is, and always has been, one of the attributes of citizenship under a free government... It is found wherever civilization exists. It was not, therefore, a right granted to the people by the Constitution. The government of the United States when established found it in existence, with the obligation on the part of the States to afford it protection...
The right there specified is that of "bearing arms for a lawful purpose." This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called..."internal police."
Obviously, the line about Congress isn't true anymore in light of the 14th amendment and the doctrine of 'select incorporation', but the core stands.
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We have the "right to travel" (an unenumerated right protected by the ninth)
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