I Was Right

Well the Supreme Court released the Heller Decision today. The short version is that the Second Amendment is about an individual right to keep and carry weapons that is not tied to the militia. Use for self-defense as well as hunting are permitted and expected uses. The DC Gun law has been struck down.

Now I could ask for a little more (striking down the machine gun restrictions) but none of that was part of this case. I don’t think that anyone who believes in reasonable gun laws will be upset either. People who believe in unreasonable restrictions will of course be disappointed. 🙂 There are a lot of loose ends though. What is reasonable in licencing? What are reasonable places and circumstances to not permit guns? Oh yeah the courts are going to be busy with this one for a while.

The interesting thing is that if someone does decide to overturn some gun restrictions, like the one on machine guns, they will use the dissenting argument more than the majority one. That will be fun to watch.

4 Responses to “I Was Right”

  1. Matt says:

    I’m actually in DC right now, though I’m yet to even see the SCOTUS…

    I’ve always differed from the stereotypical (and definitely far from universal) Democrat “all guns are bad” policy… I think the right decision was made today: reasonable restrictions on guns are permissible, but outright bans are not.

    I still maintain that, from a strictly grammatical standpoint, the right to bear arms is related to militias, but this does not preclude it from meaning an individual may bear arms (e.g., “Because firearms are necessary to secure the nation, an individual’s right to bear arms may not be infringed”). It’s just exceedingly awkwardly phrased otherwise. Moral of the story: if you’re drafting something to last for several hundred years, avoid combining clauses without specifying how they’re linked.

    I’ve always thought that guns ought to be somewhat like drivers’ licenses: you should have to pass an exam on gun safety, have a clean background (not meaning “no speeding ticket ever,” but a string of assaults and robberies should certainly preclude it), and also pass a shooting test. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I’d love to see gun control advocates and the NRA (et al.) sit down and set up exacting guidelines for this: I’m pretty sure the NRA would support gun safety education / training / testing.

    BTW, people keep suggesting that Obama is out to ban guns entirely; from what little bit of the news I saw (which I may have radically misinterpreted? I had it on in the background), his aides have said that the decision today is exactly what he’s said all along: somewhere in between banning people from owning guns and allowing people to carry machine guns down Main Street lies a reasonable middle ground, where the “good guys” can own guns, but the “bad guys” aren’t toting Uzis.

  2. Mr. T says:

    I was disappointed with Obama for not signing the Congressional amicus on this issue. I was also disappointed that in his statement today be did not include self defence as a reason to own a firearm. The clear message in the decision today was that self-defense is a fully supported right. In fact one review I read called today’s decision a statement that there is an implied right to self-defense.

    BTW the NRA offers more firearms training today than anyone. And that includes a lot of specialized police training and of course hunting training. NRA trained instructors doing hunter training are largely responsible for continued declines in hunting accidents and deaths.

    I am less sure that gun control advocates would be willing to work with NRA and they have declined to do so in the past. In fact they have activily worked to keep NRA gun safety programs (that urge children not to pick up guns but to tell an adult if they find one) in the past.

    You may want to read Justice Scalia’s opinion. He explains how the first and second clauses are related. His opinion is that allowing a right to bear arms (for other than the militia) is required to allow a militia to be possible.

  3. Matt says:

    I was also disappointed that in his statement today be did not include self defence as a reason to own a firearm.

    I haven’t seen the statement, but I doubt that he meant to suggest that self-defense is not legitimate.

    His opinion is that allowing a right to bear arms (for other than the militia) is required to allow a militia to be possible.

    Yes, I think that’s one of the more reasonable interpretations, and pretty much how I’ve started to feel.

  4. Mr. T says:

    Yeah his statement talks about hunting a lot. Target shooting some. Since self defense was such a major part of the decision not referencing that is suspicious.

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