First, a plug for Academics for the Second Amendment. Apparently, our good friend and producer of the documentary “In Search of the Second Amendment” David Hardy, is being tapped to help write an Amicus Brief for the aforementioned group regarding District of Columbia vs Heller. Apparently, filing such a brief is ridiculously expensive and they could use some financial assistance.
With that out of the way, my take on all the hubbub over DC vs Heller.
Many seem to be of the that this is going to be a watershed moment for the Second Amendment. it could mean the end of the prohibition on automatic weapons, could cripple gun control laws the country over…or could spell the end of the individual right to keep and bear arms as we know it.
Call me a pessimist, but I’m less enthusiastic about the impact that this will have.
It seems to me that SCOTUS has been extremely adept at avoiding making a firm statement one way or another on this issue for a long time. Considering the political bombshell that it would be were they to take ANY firm position, on this issue, I expect the result of this case to be less than earth shattering.
What I am expecting is a decision rife with weasel words and abstract meanderings that very narrowly and specifically uphold the decision of the appeals court and rule the specific prohibition on functional firearms in one’s home to be unconstitutional, but allow for virtually unrestricted regulation otherwise.
Some have lauded the “question before the court” as it is has been re-worded (by the court) as a positive sign:
“Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”
Some assert that it seems to assume an individual right. Some assert that it is a good thing and indicates that the court is going to address this issue definitively.
Here’s the problem: If the court doesn’t specifically spell out that the right is an individual one in the decision and simply doesn’t mention it…they have effectively avoided addressing that issue and the anti’s can continue to argue that the Supreme Court has never RULED that it is an individual right.
The wording of the question very much gives SCOTUS the opportunity to do just that.
By wording the question in such a way, they can rule based upon the ASSUMPTION that it is an individual right without ever having to actually address that assumption in the ruling. They STILL will have effectively avoided an official ruling on the issue of the individual versus “collective” right.
I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be a step in the right direction. I’m just saying that it will most likely be a baby step, not a “giant leap for mankind.”
I just don’t see SCOTUS
a) Going out on a limb on such a politically charged issue
b) So seriously undermining Government authority to regulate and restrict actions of the people.
The only right that SCOTUS has a demonstrated history of supporting wholeheartedly and without reservation has been the emanated and unenumerated right to reproductive privacy.
All of the ones actually covered by the Bill of Rights have succumbed at one time or another.