Heller at the Supreme Court

I haven’t commented on it, becaue honestly, the interesting part is the legal wrangling, and that just makes my head hurt. 

Oral arguments were yesterday.  I’m cautiously optomistic. 

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you really should pay more attention.  Heller is going to be one of the more important (one way or the other) SCOTUS decisions of a very long time.   

One Response

  1. Copy-pasted from my website, since I’m too lazy to type up something new:

    Honestly, I can’t see this turning out well for the anti-gun folks in any case. Best case scenario for the Brady Campaign types is that the Court declares the Second Amendment a collective right, rather than an individual one, at which point you’re going to have all of us gun nuts forming/joining militias–the National Guard wasn’t formed till the 20th century, so it’d be difficult to argue that the Founders intended that as the “well regulated militia,” rather than citizen militias–in order to firmly establish members’ rights to bear arms. Given that current US Code defines the “militia” as both the National Guard/Coast Guard and all able-bodied males between 17 and 45 (plus, presumably, women who volunteer–the code hasn’t been updated in almost a century), even that might as well be an individual right. Worst case scenario for the antis is that the Court declares gun ownership an individual right not subject to restriction, which would basically negate all gun control beyond background checks, if that. The most likely scenario in my opinion, based on the oral arguments, is that the Court will rule that the Second Amendment is an individual right but subject to “reasonable restriction,” much like the First Amendment doesn’t mean you can commit libel with impunity.

    Even if that last scenario happens though, the best precedent for “reasonable regulation” of guns was set down in US v. Miller, the only other Second Amendment Supreme Court case with any real weight. In that case, a man’s conviction for transporting a sawed-off shotgun across state lines in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934 was upheld by the Court–not because the Second Amendment didn’t apply, but because the weapon in question was deemed not suitable for militia duty. The logical extension of that, of course, is that any weapon suitable for militia duty (which at this point in time means fully-automatic or select-fire weapons) should be legal for civilians to own without undue restriction. The Miller ruling never addressed this point, but if Heller leads to the Second Amendment being declared an individual right, it’s entirely possible that within a few years the only permissible restriction on gun ownership by civilians will be background checks and weapons that you couldn’t use in a war.

    Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to watch.

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