Wednesday, March 19, 2008

They may know firearms law, but do they know firearms?

The DC vs Heller 2nd-Amendment case, which has the potential to completely change the powers of local, state, and national government to regulate or even ban firearms, was heard before SCOTUS yesterday.

For an interesting perspective on the proceedings and qualifications of both the lawyers who argued the case and the justices who heard it, see this link at the Oregon Firearms Federation, which ponders the question of what kind of gun laws we'd have if the 2nd Amendment were interpreted by those who actually know something about firearms.

On the positive side, this excerpt by Justice Scalia is worth noting:

"[But] why isn't it perfectly plausible, indeed reasonable, to assume that since the framers knew that the way militias were destroyed by tyrants in the past was not by passing a law against militias, but by taking away the people's weapons -- that was the way militias were destroyed. The two clauses go together beautifully: Since we need a militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. "

Molon labe.


Lee Coleman said...

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." Clearly, the idea is that the only constitutional underpinning for this right is the security of a free state at the hands of a well-regulated militia.

The key thought here is "regulated." Anyone who thinks that the State may not regulate possession of any kind of arms for criminal uses simply isn't paying attention. Anyone who thinks that unregulated possession of assault weapons (which are relevant only to military uses) by anyone who is not a member of a well-regulated militia is sanctioned by the Constitution simply doesn't understand the thrust of the Second Amendment.

Now as a member of the Blue Steel Democrats, I have to say that I support gun ownership rights as long as everyone understands that we the people have an equal right to protection from criminal use of guns of any kind. It is also essential that we be responsible enough to recognize that even the mere ownership, and certainly the use of assault weapons, by anyone who is not an actual member of an active and well regulated official militia ought to be outlawed.

Zak J. said...

I've read that "regulated" simply means "turned out," that is a "well-regulated militia" is one that shows up for the fight.