Personal Liberty Issue Update: Flexing Your Rights

All liberty loving individuals should have a basic understanding of the Bill of Rights. It’s easy to forget that rights like freedom of speech and the right to bear arms were created not to protect us from enemies, but from our own government.

In this month’s Personal Liberty update, you’ll find some great reminders.

  • If you’ve been following the personal liberties emails, you’re probably familiar with the Supreme Court case, Chicago v. McDonald, challenging Chicago’s ban on handguns. In a victory for 2nd amendment proponents everywhere, the court ruledthat the individual right to bear arms applies to local and state gun control laws. What does this mean for other laws around the country? Check out what some constitutional brainiacs have to say.
  • Law enforcement lobbyists have been pushing for laws making it illegal to videotape police on duty. So if these folks have their way, the guy who caught the Rodney King beating or the Oscar Grant shooting would be breaking the law. In Maryland and Massachussets you can already get arrested for police paparazzi.
  • How well do you know your constitutional rights? Are you prepared to assert them during a police encounter? Two high school teachers were placed on administrative leave after showing a film called BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide To Surviving Police Encounters, to a 12th grade civics class in Norfolk, VA. The film shows scenarios like police traffic stops and what citizens can do to avoid unconstitutional searches and getting busted for marijuana possession.
  • Legal arguments for and against Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in California in 2008,were heard this month and a decision is likely to be made soon on whether or not Prop 8 will be overturned. The anticipation of this ruling didn’t stop San Francisco’s Pride Parade from going on full steam ahead.
  • In an interview with A.V. Club, Flaming Lips frontmanWayne Coyne explained his plan to inform Bonnaroo attendees about getting involved in the marijuana legalization movement and he is hopeful for California’s legalization measure:

“It’s time that we all band together with as much intelligence and sincerity as we can, and let’s see if we can legalize marijuana before the year’s out. It just seems ridiculous. I mean, when I was 16, we would talk about how any day now marijuana would be legal. Here it is 30 years later, and it’s still in this stupid, ambiguous, and criminal state.”

Whether or not you agree with Coyne or Prop 8, there’s no question that Personal Liberty issues affect us all. Don’t forget that you can stay up to date on all these stories by following us on Twitter and by reading the HeadCount blog.

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