Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Guns Don't Kill People, I Do

I haven't weighed in on the Supreme Court's landmark gun control case (DC v Heller) that definitively stated the right to bear arms was an individual right as opposed to a community or militia right.  First I would like to point you to the opinion of the court, as was almost certainly led by Justice Scalia.  Because this is the first Second Amendment case to come before the court, it's really a bellweather case, and whether you like him or not, it's one of the big reasons why President Bush was elected twice.  In this instance, he showed that he did what was expected.  If John Kerry was President, you can bet that it would have been 5-4 the other direction.  Nevertheless, Justice Scalia set up some very interesting rules with regard to it. 
First and foremost, based on the syntax of the amendment and what is already considered collective or individual in the Bill of Rights, it is established that the right to bear arms is an individual right, and not a collective militia right.  That is an important distinction and one that has been the foundation for Second Amendment arguments for decades.  It's pretty definitive here in my mind that that has been settled.
Second, arms includes firearms made in this day and age, not just muskets or swords or things that were around then.
This really is an incredibly interesting opinion and one that touches on everything people have argued back and forth over for a long time now.  Of course, there are those who believe that the Second Amendment is an outmoded and ridiculous amendment, and that may be.  Perhaps it is better suited to a frontier America or an America that wasn't the world's most stable democracy.  Nevertheless, it is as it is and the only way to change it is an amendment that repeals it.  Is that a good idea?  I would say no, but by all means if you think it is, let me know why.

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