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Who are "the people"?

Some provisions of the Constitution confer rights on "citizens." These include the suffrage amendments and the two "privileges and immunities" clauses.  Others confer rights on "the people," and the Second Amendment right to bear arms is among them.  So can a state law deny legal, permanent resident aliens the right to own a handgun?  No, says the federal district court in Massachusetts in Fletcher v. Haas, No. 11-10644 (Mar. 30, 2012).  They are included in "the people."  Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the link.
BTW, the statute also uses the word "firearm" where it really means "handgun."  Long-barreled rifles and shotguns are not "firearms" in this statute.  I understand that people drafting statutes sometimes need to define words somewhat differently than their common meaning, but surely we can do without these Humpty Dumpty definitions where the statutory definition is radically different from the common meaning of the word.

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