Second Amendment faces most serious threat in American history
Posted by sanityinjection on June 3, 2009
Ah, the ironies of politics. It was just last year that the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban in District of Coulmbia v. Heller. In doing so the court ruled definitively that the right to bear arms is an individual right, putting an end to the pernicious left-wing argument that the Amendment’s “militia” clause was intended to limit gun ownership to military reserve purposes. The decision was hailed as a strong victory for Second Amendment rights, which it was.
Then, just a week ago, Congress passed a bill that included an explicit protection of the right to carry a concealed weapon in a federal park (for persons authorized to do so under state law.) There was no serious attempt to kill the provision. High times for gun rights, yes?
Well, no. In fact, the Second Amendment remains under serious threat. I alluded to the problem in my post commenting on Judge Sotomayor’s nomination. There have been conflicting rulings from various appellate courts on whether the Second Amendment applies to states and municipalities. For example, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has just upheld Chiacgo’s municipal handgun ban on these grounds, while the 9th Circuit, in upholding a California municipal gun ordinance, held that the Second Amendment can be read as applying to states and counties. It is expected that the Supreme Court wille ventually have to resolve the confusion.
I am frankly dumbfounded by all this. The idea that any of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights can be held as not applying to states and local authorities is so dangerous that it borders on lunacy. Under such a philosophy, you could have no freedom of assembly in Pennsylvania, no freedom of religion and an established state church in Utah, and no freedom of the press in Florida. (In practice, state constitutions often explicitly guarantee these kinds of freedoms, so these are random examples.) There would be nothing to stop every single state from banning handguns, with the result that the only place you could legally own a gun would be the District of Columbia.
Even liberals do not want to destroy the Bill of Rights. Rather, their intention is to sidestep it only when necessary in order to advance their radical statist agenda. But their long-standing callous disregard for the letter and process of the law, in favor of a focus solely on outcomes, will come back to haunt them if this precedent is allowed to take hold.