David Kirkpatrick

June 26, 2008

Second Amendment intact

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:45 pm

In a widely anticipated result, the Supreme Court overturned the ban on handguns in the nation’s capital by ruling on DC v. Heller. I was hoping to link to the Volokh Conspiracy for more substantial legal reasoning, but had to settle for the easy link via Drudge above as Volokh is apparently facing major web traffic today (something along the lines of four to five times the usual). I’ll update later with something a little heavier.

I’ll add my own bravo for SCOTUS. This decision seemed pretty cut-and-dried given the current makeup of the court, but it is the first substantial ruling on the language of the Second Amendment and it was important the berobed nine got it right.

From the link:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms restrictions intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “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.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative” both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

Do go ahead and hit the Volokh link in my blogroll and dig around. The site is slow today, but there’s a wealth of opinion and analysis of this decision.

Update — here’s a link to the entire decision via the Daily Dish.