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An Individual Right

Five of nine Supreme Court justices have decided that “the right to bear arms” is an individual right, and finally replaced the deeply flawed, all over the place, decision in United States v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939), the only other case on the Second Amendment to be heard by the Supreme Court.

CNN reports that the High court strikes down gun ban

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington D.C.’s sweeping ban on handguns is unconstitutional.

The justices voted 5-4 against the ban with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.

At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether the city’s ban violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” by preventing individuals — as opposed to state militias — from having guns in their homes.

The “militia” argument was always an evasion. When the Bill of Rights was passed there were no state militias, the militia was everyone capable of fighting. This doesn’t mean that weapons can’t be regulated, only that they can’t simply be banned. This ruling actually has a minimal effect on current laws outside of a few cities in the United States that do ban weapons.

13 comments

1 Badtux { 06.26.08 at 9:12 pm }

I have previously noted that a right to personal firearms is no panacea and does not and will not do that which is claimed by its supporters, i.e., allow the citizenry to overthrow a brutal dictatorship. On the other hand, it is in my opinion a right clearly stated in the Constitution and thus if we wish to remove it, the only legal way to do so is to amend to Constitution explicitly — not by merely wishy-washying it away with wishful thinking and willful blindness to its clear and obvious words and intent.

Now to see if the Supremes, having voted to support the 2nd Amendment, will now vote to support the 1st, 4th, 5th… well heck, any of the other amendments of the Bill of Rights. This penguin awaits their decisions with baited breath. (Not bated, baited. Herring. Yumm!).

— Badtux the Herring-eating Penguin

2 Bryan { 06.26.08 at 9:33 pm }

They are probably OK with the Third Amendment for the time being, but a little iffy on everything else.

Like you – if people don’t like what the Constitution says, let them amend it and stop annoying people.

We probably need to explicitly add a right to privacy to stop a lot of the crap that has been going on, and another saying corporations aren’t people, but they’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing.

3 Steve Bates { 06.27.08 at 12:13 am }

As a resident of a big city in a state with a concealed-carry-permit law, I have always said that while I do not question people’s constitutional right to bear arms, I wish fewer of them living near me would exercise that right in such a destructive fashion.

FWIW, I do not personally own a firearm, but there’s no shortage of them in the neighborhood. Last night I was awakened by a police helicopter circling overhead; today I learned that they were pursuing an armed robber and did not capture him (I feel safe in presuming it’s a “him”). I know the concealed-carry permit qualification requires some minimal training and a background check, but I can’t help thinking that few people carrying a handgun are competent enough with it to save themselves from an alert, possibly drugged-up armed robber.

Please don’t tell Stella. She heard the helicopter, but I did not tell her about the robbery. Her one encounter with such an event, decades ago, left a lasting impression on her; she does not need that memory revived.

4 Bryan { 06.27.08 at 12:50 am }

The thing is, the right is really for an individual on their property. As soon as you leave your property, competing rights are involved. That’s what the states should be regulating, the area of the competing rights.

For example, I don’t think the Second Amendment supports the recent Florida law that allows people to take weapons to work. It isn’t their property, so the people who own it should be able to say no.

Now if you are part of a posse, which is what the 18th century militia really was in modern terms, the rules change.

A bit more logic, and a lot less emotion would be nice.

5 distributorcap { 06.28.08 at 5:42 am }

i still have a problem with the potential of people carrying uzis around manhattan — as i am sure the people who ride the Long Island Railroad will tell you about Colin Ferguson

somehow i think the bans and regulations will start getting stripped away. i am no a second amendment expert — but i dont like the smell of this

as for getting the consititution amended — can we toss out the electoral college first

6 Bryan { 06.28.08 at 10:48 am }

Fully automatic weapons are still illegal and this has no effect on “carry” laws. This was a very narrow decision. All they said is that you can have a weapon in your house, which is all the plaintiff was asking for in the case. The Supremes rarely answer questions that aren’t asked.

The small states won’t go along, but it is past time to dump the concept. It hasn’t been what the framers specified, an independent group of informed citizens making their own decision for a century and a half, so the electoral college is well past its “use by” date.

7 hipparchia { 06.28.08 at 8:14 pm }
8 Bryan { 06.28.08 at 9:36 pm }

Since being outside Ringo has picked up hunting and she’s getting good at it. She doesn’t catch anything, but she has the look and moves down. Her problem is that she overestimates her speed and rushes from too far away.

9 hipparchia { 06.29.08 at 1:43 am }

curmudgeon cat got waaaaay to good at hunting the neighborhood rottweilers. i was afraid that one of them would eventually try to defend itself.

10 Bryan { 06.29.08 at 2:59 pm }

Cats do tend to overestimate their capabilities.

11 Story of the Day { 07.01.08 at 12:10 am }

[…] Why Now? – An Individual Right […]

12 hipparchia { 07.01.08 at 12:20 am }

the bad part is that he was so successful at it, that he began to take on the neighborhood cars next. even worse, the cars stopped for him too.

13 Bryan { 07.01.08 at 11:43 am }

The main reason for bringing Ringo inside was that she had absolutely no respect for cars, including the car of some visiting relatives, and I had to bring her in to keep the relatives from freaking out about the possibility of running over her.