LA Times gets it right on Second Amendment
Posted by sanityinjection on October 6, 2009
It’s always nice when a media outlet exceeds your expectations. So I was very pleased to read the Los Angeles Times’ editorial today on the Second Amendment case that the Supreme Court has decided to hear.
Briefly, the case focuses on the city of Chicago’s ban on private owenership of handguns. You may recall the Court recently struck down Washington D.C.’s gun ban, ruling that the Second Amendment definitively applies to individuals. In this case, the legal question is whether the state of Illinois (and by extension Chicago) must be bound by the federal Second Amendment in passing its laws. Technically, the amendments in the Bill of Rights only constrain the federal government; however, the Fourteenth Amendment has been taken to extend the protections of the Bill of Rights to state law in other cases.
I applaud the LA Times for recognizing the clear legal argument, and the potential danger to our freedoms if the court were to rule that the states need not be bound by the Bill of Rights. In doing so, the paper’s editors explicitly state that the goal (which they support) of controlling gun violence through legal restrictions on gun ownership and use cannot justify violating the logical interpretation of the Constitution. Or to put it much more simply: The end does not justify the means.
Newspaper editorial boards tend to be practical types unsympathetic to moral, legal, or technical arguments. The Times’ e-board in this case has displayed a wisdom and prudence unusual among its peers.