Legal Professionals

The other freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment is the freedom of speech and of the press. This right constrains the government from regulating the media or the press from exercising their freedom to write or express the facts they discover. The media or press has been recognized as the medium between the people and the government. The press brings to the people the information they gather regarding government’s affairs and even scandals. As part of the freedom, the members of the press enjoy their right not to divulge the source of their information. Such right is also covered by privileged communication.

However, recently, “US District Court Judge Reggie Walton ordered Toni Lucy, a journalist, to pay fines because of her refusal to divulge her sources while she was reporting news related with terrorism” (National Press Club, 2008). At present, the appeal is still being heard in the Court of Appeals. Another provision that bestowed fundamental right is the Second Amendment which provides, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (Find Law for Legal Professionals, 2008).

Recently in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (554 U. S. __), the Supreme Court finally settled the interpretation of the case. Through the decision of the court, the right to bear arms was considered as an individual right and not collective or connected to service in militia (554 U. S. __). The decision has altered the long recognized interpretation of the provision. According to the decision, the individual people may now possess guns to protect themselves from outside threats.

The right of the people to self- defense was acknowledged and part of such right is to possess and use the gun. In supporting its decision, the Supreme Court defined the two clauses as prefatory and operative clauses (554 U. S. __). The prefatory clause, “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” has been interpreted as an explanatory of the provision (554 U. S. __). On the other hand, the clause “the right of the people” demands a right and connotes an individual right. Moreover, the operative clause may stand even without the prefatory clause.

Therefore, right to bear arms is one among the freedom that can be enjoyed by every citizen. It can be observed that the Founding Fathers have realized the need for a right to bear arms after the freedom to religion and press have been granted. The relationship can be drawn from the situation of America before. It can be remembered that the country was still under the colony of the British Empire. In order to establish the right of the citizens to protect themselves from further abuses, the 2nd Amendment was instituted.

During those times, the enjoyment of the basic freedom guaranteed by the 1st Amendment would be useless if it would be threatened by possibility of abuses from the British government. At present, the application of the 2nd amendment has changed because of the new interpretation that the Supreme Court had just established in the case of Heller. In which case, both amendments grants an individual right.


District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. ____ (2008). National Press Club. (2008). National Press Club Objects to Judge’s Order in Press Freedom Case. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from http://press. org/activities/pressfreedom. cfm Find Law for Legal Professionals. (2008). First Amendment. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from http://caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/data/constitution/amendment01/ Neusner, J. (2003). World Religions in America: An Introduction. Westminter John Knox. Walsh, J. , Kemerer, F. R. , & Maniotis, L. (2005). The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law: Sixth Edition. Austin: University of Texas Press. Zelman v. Simmons- Harris, 536 U. S. 639 (2002).