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June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Strikes Down DC Gun Ban

Quotes taken from http://www.alphecca.com/?p=833:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

[…]

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative? both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,? Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington’s requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks.

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that 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.?

He said such evidence “is nowhere to be found.?

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, “In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.?

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Update: Excerpts from the opinion (via ScotusBlog):

“We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.?

“the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.?

“The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.?

“Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.?

“Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.?

“The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting.?

“It was plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense.?


Full opinion is here. Suck it, tree-huggers.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Comments

Only 5 - 4?

I'm sure the Supreme Court justices appointed by President Obama will tip the balance to the other side next time.

Posted by: robert on June 26, 2008 at 12:59 PM

He hasn't taken the oath just yet...

Posted by: Rob Kiser on June 26, 2008 at 3:10 PM

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