D.C. v. Heller Decision: Individual Right, Maybe, Sorta

This just in from SCOTUSBlog :

Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, or laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, or laws putting conditions on gun sales.

The decision isn’t up yet, so expect this to be replaced with more substantive info shortly.  But from the blurb, this should prove to be one of the worst-reasoned, result-oriented decisions ever.

8 thoughts on “D.C. v. Heller Decision: Individual Right, Maybe, Sorta

  1. Windypundit

    Yeah yeah yeah whatever, but do us folks in Chicago get to keep guns in our houses? That’s all I want to know. The suspense is killing me…

  2. Joel Rosenberg

    I dunno about that. Seems to me that this is clear precedent for overturning Chicago’s remarkably similar gun ban. We’ll have to see, but my strong guess is that it can’t survive, and that unless the Chicago powers-that-be rush to put in some sort of licensing scheme, they’re cooked.

    How soon? Not this week, and perhaps not this year, but certainly by the end of the decade.

    Locally, I’m wondering if Minnesota’s carry laws can survive this.

    Can a fundamental right be denied because some sheriff thinks that one is substantially likely to be a danger to self or others if given a permit, even by “clear and convincing” evidence?

    That’ll take longer to clear up.

  3. SHG

    Aren’t you the starry-eyed optimist.  What’s the meaning of a right that will required years of litigation and millions of dollars to exercise, or find out afterward that it isn’t a right at all? 

    Regardless of whether speculation as to which laws will live and which will die is correct, the fact remains that, at this moment in time, the only thing clear is that Dick Heller can apply for a handgun to keep in his home.  So Scalia says the 2d A gives us a right.  Go ahead and exercise it.  Then call me to defend you.

  4. Windy

    Hmm, I just read somewhere (can’t find it again) that the Illinois State Rifle Association already has a few court cases lined up to try to bring Chicago’s defacto ban into the courts.

    Who knows? Maybe with a little shoving and fighting something good will happen?

  5. SHG

    I read that too.  I think it was on CBS, that they filed papers 20 minutes after the decision was issued.  And I can’t wait to hear about the outcome.  Five to ten years from now.

  6. Michael Bannerman

    What individual right? If people would read the complete quotations in context which have been used to justify this decision, it is clear that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the federal government from using its powers under Article I, Section 8 (To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia…) to dis-arm the militia.

    Never was the topic of self-defence mentioned, other than some proposals, but even something like:

    “7. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals;” the Pennsylvania Minority Published “The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents”

    Admits that the people can be disarmed if there is “real danger of public injury from individuals”.

    So, yes, this is a poorly conceived piece of work that will result in the Second Amendment Amendment “picking up baggage over time”.

    The real issue the Second Amendment was crafted to fight was the issue of Standing Armies used by crazed rulers, and the last time I checked the military budget, it was pretty huge.

    My Second Amendment rights are being trampled in Iraq.

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