Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SCOTUS Discovers 2nd Amendment; Decides It Needs Attention

The United States Supreme Court announced this morning that it has decided to hear the first case in seventy years in which the 2nd Amendment is central. In Heller vs. District of Columbia the Supreme Court will decide whether the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution means "states" when it speaks of "the right of the people."

The District of Columbia has one of the most restrictive gun control statutes in the country in that it bans personal possession of a handgun.

In its filings the District has supported its position with the arguments that its ban

a. has saved lives, though it has one of the highest crime and homicide rates in the nation, much higher than states which have citizen-owned guns on every street, every corner and higher than was the case before they tightened the law.
b. does not deprive its citizens of a right because citizens are allowed to keep a rifle in their homes, as long as it is disassembled, not able to be fired and under lock and key.
c. is not illegal because the 2nd Amendment applies only to States' militias and the District of Columbia is not a State.
Mr. Heller, a federal officer who carries a weapon at work but is not allowed to keep it at home, argues that the District's laws violate his constitutional right "to keep and bear" an arm.

The New York Times, not surprisingly, yesterday nodded its appreciation of each of the District's arguments.

Leading gun control groups, concerned over the possible outcome of the case, had attempted to convince the District to change its laws rather than appeal the case to the Supreme Court, but failed.

The Court is expected to announce its decision prior to the end of its term in June. As I mentioned, this will be the first "on target" ruling on the 2nd Amendment in 70 years. In that prior case, Miller, only lawyers from the government showed up for the hearing. There was no argument, there were no briefs filed in support of Mr. Miller.

will be different.

RELATED LINKS: Brady Campaign Nervous; Admits Effort to Get DC to Modify Gun Ban Rather Than Risk Trip to Supreme Court

What on Earth Are D.C. City Politicians Smoking? Hallucinating About Gun Control in Parker

The Most Important Gun Rights Decision… Ever!

The intellectual arguments of the anti-gun groups are completely bereft of heft. Since the current wave of liberalization began in Florida in 1986, all the arguments favor wider ownership, possession and use of firearms by citizens. Bans and confiscations in England, Australia and Canada have help prove the case on an international level that, as Robert Heinlein wrote more than fifty years ago, "An armed society is a polite society."

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