The Supreme Court will be hearing a District of Columbia gun control case. It is currently illegal to possess a functioning firearm within the District. You would think, that by this time, there would be a pretty firm interpretation laid down by the Courts, as to the rights of citizens to possess guns. You would be wrong. This issue has been left largely to State and local authority. The wording in the Bill of rights is ambiguous as to whether individuals even have the right to own firearms, outside of membership in a militia. It doesn’t define whether the militia would or would not need to be government sanctioned or authorized.
Given the current make up of the Supreme Court and the stance of the Bush Administration on gun control, it is unlikely that the Federal District’s current statute will stand. Unless the Court is very clear, on exactly what is allowed in relation to the possession of firearms, this will open the door to many gun regulation cases, to be decided in the future. The NRA and other gun enthusiast groups have been waiting seventy years for a case like this, to get their foot in the door. The fact that the Supremes agreed to hear a case like this tells you something about the caliber of it’s current leadership. I thought John Roberts was a pretty smart guy, until now.
Eventually they will have to address the issue of carry, caliber, hand gun vs long gun and the ownership of ordinance currently available only to the military and law enforcement. A slippery slope indeed.
It’s been at least twenty years since I’ve fired a gun. I was a terrible shot even then. I don’t think I’ve magically improved. The gun control laws here in California are only marginally less strict than in D.C. I have no ideological opposition to the private ownership of firearms. I also believe that as long as they aren’t concealed, you should be able to carry them on your person. I also believe you should be able to possess anything comparable to whatever law enforcement or the military possesses. It’s only fair and equitable.
Saturday nights downtown could get pretty lively, in the future.
It’s funny. I didn’t even like Jimmy Hendrix in the Sixties. I didn’t get him at all. I love his music now. More and more.
In today’s L.A. Times they ran this inflammatory photo with a story about the D.C vs Heller case being argued before the United States Supreme Court. The photograph is a fake! The “illegal handgun” is no more than a toy.
The picture was credited to Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press. The caption is as follows: “A 14-year old who asked not to be named had this illegal handgun on him in southeast Washington on Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Under a 31-year-old law in the nation’s capital, ownership of handguns is barred for nearly everyone except law enforcement. The ban is up for review in the Supreme Court.”
The picture is of a German made RTS tear gas delivery device that uses a small amount of gunpowder to deliver CN powder to an attacker. The gun and several like it were manufactured in the early 1960’s in Germany. These guns were no longer made or sold when aerosol spray cans were found to be far superior tear gas delivery system to these tear gas pistols.
The RTS was never considered a firearm by ATF It was freely imported, unrestricted and sold by mail and available in American novelty shops. Needless to say nobody made or sold the ammunition for this obsolete gun in several decades.
The RTS was far less capable of converting to fire ammunition then a ball point pen.
The whole L.A. Times Story can be found here.
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 was a 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.
Good news or Bad?
Wanted to share something I thought was relevant to recent discussions here on the economy.
My wife and I visited our local Gun shop over the weekend to purchase a hand gun for her. You couldn’t believe how many people were in this store buying fireamrs! I shop regularly at this store for cheap ammunition to shoot at the range, so I am familiar with the traffic. This place was jammed. You could hardly get around each other at the counters and down the aisles. The tension was thick. People seemed tense. I was hyped up on coffee and feeling honery so I loudly proclaimed, “Everyone here must be worried about the Economy and riots in the streets!” I thought I was going to get kicked out. But everyone sighed in agreement; some even clapping their hands. I believe people are finally getting worried.
The title of my post asks the question, “is this a good thing or a bad thing?”
Everytime I have tried to talk to these types of people (shooting advocates; gun range people etc.), I can never seem to get past the Patriotic bullshit — i.e., we must support our government; our government is our savior.
I am very glad that Americans own guns. I think this is the only thing that will save us. However…….I also worry that most Americans are so fooled, that those guns could be turned on people like me for suggesting that someone else is to blame for all of this mess. A particular range I shoot at has a paper target you can purchase with Osama as the target. This is the most popular target to shoot at!
I live in the South and I will tell you that I have not found one single person who doesn’t believe in the propaganda. That is very troubling to me. My hope is to find others close with a like mind so that we can support one another. I really believe that at some point, we will all need to start reaching out and finding others with like minds, not just on the internet, but those who live near us. I have resisted this because it is so hard to trust anyone these days. But I do believe that the only way we will make it through all of this, is by sticking together.
I hope that my situation is not the norm. I hope that all of you are finding communities of like minded people. There is strength in numbers and ‘they’ seem to have the numbers right now.
I fear the worst; I plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
I would be interested to hear what others are experiencing around them. Sincerely.