3/17/2008

The Run Up to the Supreme Court Hearing the DC Gun Ban Case on Tuesday

Alan Gura and Robert A. Levy in the Legal Times:

Two hundred years ago, the rights secured by the first 10 amendments were so widely accepted that many of the Framers considered a Bill of Rights unnecessary. Yet the Anti-Federalists wisely insisted on a Bill of Rights, fearing that fundamental tenets of individual liberty might later be deemed inconvenient, impractical, or even dangerous. . . .


On the other side Albert R. Hunt in the International Herald Tribune:

The case that will be argued Tuesday is over the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Courts have long interpreted that to protect the state's right to form a militia rather than a citizen's unfettered right to own firearms. Last year, a conservative appellate court, however, overturned a ban on ownership of handguns in Washington, arguing that it violated the Second Amendment. . . .


This isn't really serious because the Miller decision didn't address the Second Amendment being an individual right. What the case dealt with was the much more limited issue of whether a sawed off shotgun was a military weapon. But it could have been that individuals had a protected right to own military weapons.

Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times

The conservative columnist Robert D. Novak, who often reflects views from inside the Bush administration, wrote Thursday in The Washington Post that there was “puzzlement over Clement” and an expectation “in government circles” that the solicitor general would “amend his position when he actually faces the justices.”

Those who have watched the 41-year-old Mr. Clement, a veteran of nearly four dozen arguments who enjoys the respect of justices across the ideological spectrum, think it most unlikely that he would bow to pressure of this sort. “Don’t count on it,” Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor and former Justice Department lawyer, wrote on the Web site Scotusblog, adding that “the institutional cost to the office of such a reversal” would be high. . . . .


Washington Post Editorial

The Second Amendment, while ensconced in the Bill of Rights among provisions protecting freedom of speech and freedom from unreasonable searches, is different. Words can be offensive; bullets can be lethal. Every right, no matter how precious, is subject to some limits. If the justices recognize an individual right, they can and should allow lawmakers maximum flexibility to enact reasonable regulation. In our view, that flexibility should include the District's law, which is aimed at taking the most dangerous guns off the streets of what was once one of the nation's most dangerous cities. Anything short of this would promote perverse ideological purity over the legitimate interests of lawmakers to protect public safety.


This is the confusion. If people really believed that there were compelling reasons for gun control, they wouldn't need a lower standard for the Second Amendment than the other parts of the Bill of Rights. If they really believed this, it should be easy for them to meet that standard.

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2 Comments:

Blogger bobal said...

I didn't know it until I was out of the Idaho militia, but I had been a member most of my life. "All male citizens aged..." It's in the Idaho Constitution. If the court rules against us, I quess we could expand the age range, and include the women. :)

3/17/2008 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regard to the Washington Post editorial: murder is not a rare event in Washington, D.C. The thing that is rare is successful self defense by victims.

Sam Wilson

3/17/2008 3:42 PM  

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