Friday, June 27, 2008

Probably the Correct Ruling on Guns

Given my prior criticism of the Second Amendment ("18th Century Wisdom in the 21st Century") it would be reasonable to assume I'm aghast at the Supreme Court's decision striking down a handgun ban and a requirement for trigger locks. While I haven't read through all the opinions in detail yet, though, I think it was probably a reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment. I've never denied that the Second Amendment exists, nor do I believe in simply ignoring the Amendments that are inconvenient (see, for example, DUI checkpoints).

Now that the field has been somewhat defined by the Supreme Court, the battle can begin in earnest in our legislatures to define what regulations we, as a society, think are appropriate. Banning is out of the question. Rendering the guns unavailable for self-defense is off the table. But even Scalia acknowledges some restrictions are okay.

Before yesterday's decision, the extremists on both sides were in a black and white world. Some thought that total banning was constitutional, some thought that any restrictions at all was unconstitutional. We're all in a gray world, now, and much work remains to be done.

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Anonymous mainstream said...

It's hard to say. We have had two very recent 5-4 votes going in opposite directions.

The thing to think about is would this post be any different in it's perspective and opinion if the vote was 5-4 the other way?

6/27/2008 10:10 PM  
Blogger Muddy Mo said...

You've summed up my feelings about the ruling, so now I can just post a link to your post. Thanks!

6/27/2008 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Lance Weber said...

Have you read the opinion yet? It is extraordinarily well written. Scalia has his faults but writing isn't one of them.

I agree with this statement from the SCOTUS blog:

"It is not hyperbole to describe today’s decision in Heller as the most significant opinion of this century, and likely, of the last two generations."

6/29/2008 12:53 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Lance - that is truly hilarious hyperbole. Anyone who really believes that the case was THAT tremendously important, when all it really held was that guns can't be totally banned or rendered useless, though they can be regulated, had better be hoping the next decision legalized drugs . . .

6/29/2008 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Lance Weber said...

You think David Schenk needs drugs decriminalized for some reason? You must be joking.

If you haven't read the opinion yet, here is a pdf straight from the Court. My favorite part is when he sarcastically calls the 1939 decision in U.S. v Miller the "mighty rock upon which the dissent rests its case" after showing its many weaknesses.

I think that many people undervalue the RTKBA and consider it anachronistic. Personally, I think it is like a canary in a coalmine. Honest governments don't need to disarm their citizens.

This opinion is so important b/c it is the first time in history the Court has held that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right unconnected to service in a militia.

Scalia's opinion leaves no wiggle room for those who would arbitrarily disarm the average American.

6/29/2008 10:47 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...


"Arbitrialy disarm the average citizen?"

Pssst!! *whispering* (the average citizen doesn't own a gun)

6/29/2008 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainstream...wanna bet?


6/30/2008 1:42 AM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...


You must have a quite bizarre view of the "average citizen." Far more own guns than you realize; many who you would not imagine.

Anonymous is right - "Wanna bet?"

Folks: Check out Miller - the whole story, and the entire decision, not the "civics book" version - and you'll understand just how shaky that ground is.

I'm simply delighted that the opinion recognized the purpose of the right: It's not for hunting. It's not for personal defense, though it serves that purpose, and certainly a person has a right to defend himself. It's in order to 1) provide a body of persons with some firearms experience to make up a militia, should it be necessary, and yes, that's somewhat anachronistic, and 2) to serve as a check on tyrrany. And that's not anachronistic at all. Thankfully, we've not had to exercise such a deterrent; it's mere presence serves as the check. I very much hope it will never have to be exercised.

As do all of us. Of course, it was 5-4. And Stevens' dissent included such scary ignorance as this:

"“The court [the 5 justices in the majority] “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…”"

And three other presumably bright individuals signed on to this? The whole PURPOSE of a Constitution, Mr. Justice, is to limit gov't. You understand that fundamental truth, I hope, though it appears not.

Yeesh. Much too close a call, that.

There will be a plethora of follow-up litigation, of course. Incorporation is the next nut to crack. But this is indeed a great first step.

News Flash: The Constitution mean what is says. Deal with it.

6/30/2008 2:43 AM  
Anonymous Nuke said...

I think it is very important from a point of constitutional law. I think the best point was your own Dan, that we can not just ignore the amendments that conflict with our own values.

7/07/2008 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Nuke said...

I think it is very important from a point of constitutional law. I think the best point was your own Dan, that we can not just ignore the amendments that conflict with our own values.

(sorry if this is a duplicate post, I got hung p)

7/07/2008 1:26 PM  
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