Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Supremes like gun rights

A majority of the Supreme Court appeared ready on Tuesday to embrace, for the first time in the country’s history, an interpretation of the Second Amendment that protects the right to own a gun for personal use.

That may be the easy part.

The harder question in the case challenging the District of Columbia’s handgun ban is what kind of restrictions the government could constitutionally place, in the name of public safety, on the newly recognized right. (L. Greenhouse. NYTimes. March 19, 2008).

This is such an odd statement.

The right to bear arms has been recognized since the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The right has been severely infringed by state and federal government. The only thing new here is that SCOTUS has deigned to hear an appeal and clarify the constitutionality of individual gun owners’ rights. Only a tortured reading of the amendment makes it possible not to find an individual right to bear arms. The questioning by the Justices seems to have made that very clear.

The right to gun ownership has always been embraced by those who do not live within the confines of modern liberalism. There are vast areas of the country where non-ownership of a gun is considered to be a character flaw. Guns are not to be feared. They are a tool.

If the Supreme Court heard a case on press freedom I guess the New York Times would define that as a newly recognized right? It seems what really gives Ms. Greenhouse heartburn is that a decision confirming the second amendment’s clear meaning might diminish government’s ability to disarm citizens.

It appears that SCOTUS is walking a fine line with the appeal. The affirmation of the second amendment exposes all state and federal gun control laws to attack. The opinion must be carefully tailored and narrowed. If not, hundreds, if not thousands, of statutes would have to be defended. The costs would be astounding.

No comments: