Bang, bang

June 26, 2008

Here’s the big one everybody has been waiting for:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington D.C.’s sweeping ban on handguns is unconstitutional.

The justices voted 5-4 against the ban with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.

At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether the city’s ban violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” by preventing individuals — as opposed to state militias — from having guns in their homes.

The court merely confirmed what many of us believed: that the Second Amendment protects an individual — not collective — right to bear arms. I wish this would stop liberals — who normally make the Constitution up as they go along — from continuing to disingenously invoke the Framer’s “intent” in this one case, but I won’t count on it.

UPDATE: Here’s the text of Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion pdf file). The vote was 5-4. Guess who was on which side? Yeah, the ususal.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a nice summary of what the decision means. And if you don’t want to read the whole text, here are some quotes from it.


19 Responses to “Bang, bang”

  1. Larry Morris Says:

    All I can say is woo-hoo, …

  2. Harl Delos Says:

    Was Brady a liberal?

    The thing that has always bewildered me is that politicians show up in camo or in Carhartt and plaid, and talk about how they think hunting is great. The second amendment doesn’t say a *thing* about shooting ring-neck pheasant, nor about “plinking”. The guns that are most obviously protected are assault rifles and other guns intended for use upon people.

    There was a piece in the Inquirer this morning, about a guy who lied in order to buy a gun, because his girlfriend slapped an Order of Protection on him, making it illegal for him to buy a gun. I suspect those will have to be modified, too, to remain within constitution limits. It might be reasonable to prohibit a guy from approaching his girlfriend or his ex while carrying a weapon, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be armed if he’s a mile or further away.

    If the OOP keeps him from flat-out approaching her, the issue of guns is moot, isn’t it?

  3. Bob G. Says:

    Now Larry…try to curb your “enthusiasm”…

    Try…”HOT DAMN” instead, OK?


    (Next stop – open carry!)

  4. jon olinger Says:

    No Brady was a conservative….It took a round to the head and a loss of 100 IQ points to become a liberal.

  5. jon olinger Says:

    I’ve read the opinion. I am not a lawyer so maybe someone could help me out with this. I agree with Harl the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with hunter’s rights. The Hunter’s Rights argument is used when liberals want to convince gun owners that they “feel the pain” of the gun owner and would support Hunter’s rights. That being said, it seems the majority opinion is based on the right of the individual to defend himself. The 2nd amendment says no more about an individual’s right to defend himself than it does about an individual’s right to hunt.

    The 2nd amendment was placed in the bill of rights to keep the Federal Government from disarming the people. Noah Webster said it best. “Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never be deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state.” If the supreme court protects the 2nd amendment, the people can then protect the remaining amendments.

  6. Harl Delos Says:

    So who shot Paul Helmke in the head, Jon?

    The answer, of course, is that he’s not. He ran against Coats and lost. Then he ran against Coats and won, but lost to Bayh. Then he ran against Souder and lost. What’s the difference between a politician and a whore? A politician won his election.

  7. jon olinger Says:

    Politician is much more expensive….. BTW… I’m up this year… Anyone want to contribute?

  8. Bob G. Says:

    If you need armed escort…I’m available.
    And when it comes to defending yourself…police might be only minutes away, but your firearm is less than a few seconds (in most cases) away.
    You do the math.



  9. Leo Morris Says:

    I agree with the irrelevance of hunting and self-defense as Second Amendment arguments, as fine and noble as those pursuits are. What I think Scalia got right was putting the amendment in the context of what the Framers understood about the militia. They feared a standing army’s potential for abuse of power, so the answer was a militia ready to go at a moment’s notice. That means everyone had to be armed — hence, the individual rights guranteede by the amendment — but with the weapons generlly available. So, today, we can have guns and rifles but not bazookas and hand grenads, and “reasonable” limits on such things as background checks and sales near schols can be imposed. This is a much narrower decisions than one gun advocates might have hoped for and liberals probably feared.

  10. Jon Olinger Says:

    Hand grenades may be illegal… but hand grenads are a Freudian slip. lol…

    Bob… I’d love an armed escort… two large caliber handguns are better than one.

  11. gadfly Says:

    Hand granades, hand granads …both pass my spell checker.

    Reminds me of the the quote by one of the NBA’s all-time great coaches and wisecrackers, Bill Fitch, who expanded on an old saw as he watched his Cleveland Cavaliers lose a close one:

    “Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and at the drive-in-movies.” (This was in 1976).

    He forgot about quoytes, but come to think of it “close” counted for the Constitutionalists today.

  12. tim zank Says:

    Well Fellas…all the other bulls$it aside, I’m thrilled to see that the SCOTUS has arrived at a decision that actually follows the constituion for a change. They read the verbage and actually took it at it’s face value instead of “enhancing” or reading in to it.

    Wow, what a fuc#king concept, eh?

  13. de_tokeville Says:

    Clever, Jon, clever. Did Leo re-write it for you a la Harper?

  14. Harl Delos Says:

    My regular spell checker is When I do a search on granads, it responds “Did you mean: grenades” And when I type grenads or granads into this window, it gets underlined.

    Bill Fitch was trading on Frank Robinson, who in 1935 said, “Close doesn’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”.

    The second amendment is almost as bad as abortion.

    A friend of mine points out that more manpower and money has been thrown at the abortion issue since Roe v. Wade than has been spent on any commercial advertising, and yet nobody has made *any* headway at all in changing public opinion – not even a 1% difference in the number of people who want to keep abortion safe and legal.

    And I don’t think we’re likely to change anyone’s opinion on gun control in this thread, either.

    I’m thrilled to see that the SCOTUS has arrived at a decision that actually follows the constituion for a change. They read the verbage and actually took it at it’s face value instead of “enhancing” or reading in to it.

    I suggest you read the full opinions, Tim, rather than just the news reports. They’re available at This opinion isn’t as great as you seem to think, nor are the others as bad as you seem to think.

    I don’t necessarily like every decision they make, but when I’ve looked at the majority opinion and the dissent, they both make good sense, and they both try to interpret what the Constitution actually says, rather than what they wish it said.

    More than once, we’ve seen presidents try to tilt the court left or right, but the justices, once on the bench, ended up doing just the opposite as predictions held. Roberts doesn’t seem to contribute many neurons to the discussions, but he’s new yet. There haven’t been many “duds” appointed to the SCOTUS.

    Many people look at the Federalist Papers, etc., and try to figure out what the founding fathers intended or what the framers of the Constitution (who came along almost a generation later) intended. This decision says it doesn’t really matter what the authors meant, but rather what those who ratified the Constitution would have thought they meant.

    A lot of the news coverage of this decision – for instance, Helmke on Hardball – seemed to arrive at the conclusion that this decision said that it’s OK for government to restrict who can legally own a handgun. In fact, it didn’t. It said that “respondent” – meaning Heller, the person behind this lawsuit – conceded that cities could bar felons and the mentally deficient from owning guns, so the Court didn’t address that issue at all.

    I think we will see another case, fairly soon, where the Court does address that issue. Under the first amendment, we don’t allow the government to restrict the speech of those who have previously been convicted of “inciting to riot”. If someone has been convicted of shoplifting, and completed their sentence, we cannot take away their Miranda rights. Why should a person who has been convicted of a felony be denied the right to repel home invaders?

    Similarly, I think we’ll see another look at bazookas in twenty or thirty years. It occurs to me that at the time of the Constitution, a soldier in the militia was required to provide his own uniform and weapon, and most people lived and worked at the same address. If the governor called up the militia, the members would put on their uniform, grab their weapon, and go.

    They’ll probably take a look at volunteer fire departments in this regard. In many cases, when the whistle blows, guys drive to the fire house, change into their outfits, and ride the truck to the fire, but some members of some departments have red pickups or red SUVs, and they keep their fire gear in the truck, so that they can drive directly to the fire. It’s illegal in many states to have police radios in your car, but these guys are allowed to have public safety band radios in their pickups or SUVs.

    All that is necessary is for some mayor along the border – and that includes Carolina coast – to organize a local militia, and he’s got a pretty good argument that his militiamen have a constitutional right to have tommy guns, bazookas, and grenades.

    Meanwhile, Davis v. Federal Election Commission and Morgan Stanley v. Snohomish were decided tpday as well. Was there any news coverage at all? I didn’t see any.

    Davis-FEC will surely affect future elections. I suspect the news organizations didn’t report on it because there are several issues, decided by different splits of the court. Reporters probably haven’t figured out yet what the decision actually says

  15. Nance Says:

    That quip about Brady being shot in the head is hilarious, jon. Remind me to make a joke about Ronald Reagan drooling into his oatmeal.

  16. Steve T. Says:

    Actually, an individual in the future need not claim “militia rights” to justify possession of one type of arm or another for his or her security.

    It is more historically valid to read the so-called preamble — grammatically speaking, the subordinate clause — in the Second Amendment as a reassurance to the people of their own continued security in the face of states’ post-revolutionary aspirations to maintain their own armed militias. Don’t forget that the states still considered themselves sovereign entities through much of this period, printing their own state monies, protecting their own borders to a degree, and engaging in what amounted to foreign trade with one another across state lines.

    Washington’s Continental Army was disbanded quickly after the war largely because the American people, aka People, were allergic to the notion of an army sitting around America with nothing to do but wait for further government orders. The army was hence disbanded — and Americans were very nearly as allergic to the “sovereign states'” desires, after the war, to create and maintain their own separate militias, though state governments persisted in defending their need for such little armies.

    Alexander Hamilton was one of those who made the case that the People need never fear state militia — SINCE THEY WOULD ALWAYS, OF COURSE, MAINTAIN THEIR FULL RIGHTS TO ARMS THE EQUAL OF THOSE BORNE BY A STATE MILITIA, and in larger numbers, since there would always be far more citizens than militia soldiers in a given state.

    Read in this light, the wording of the Second Amendment is not vague at all, but is as economically graceful as the rest of the Bill of Rights — it acknowledges a desire of government for militia, and immediately assures Americans that their full natural rights to keep & bear arms shall never be infringed.

    Ironically many contemporaries thought the Bill of Rights a lunkheadedly obvious, totally unnecessary exercise, like assuring the American people that the sun would rise each morning.

    But that view clearly, though maybe understandably in simpler times, failed to account for the kind of people who won’t even stipulate as to what the word is is.

  17. Jon Olinger Says:

    …Yeah…. what he said.

  18. Jon Olinger Says:

    Oh…and btw Nance if Ronald Reagan would have actually drooled into his oatmeal the oatmeal would have cost less, been more efficient and either the oatmeal or the drool would have trickled down.

  19. tim zank Says:

    Steve T… spot on as always!

    Jon, You are KILLIN’ me! Well done sir.

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