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Guns and the Supreme Court

 
 
au1929
 
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 10:17 am
Guns and the Supreme Court

Published: November 21, 2007




By agreeing this week to rule on whether provisions of Washington D.C.'s stringent gun control law violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has inserted itself into a controversy with large ramifications for public safety. The court's move sowed hope and fear among supporters of reasonable gun control, and it ratcheted up the suspense surrounding the court's current term.
The hope, which we share, is that the court will rise above the hard-right ideology of some justices to render a decision respectful of the Constitution's text and the violent consequences of denying government broad room to regulate guns. The fear is that it will not.

At issue is a 2-1 ruling last March by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that found unconstitutional a law barring handguns in homes and requiring that shotguns and rifles be stored with trigger locks or disassembled. The ruling upheld a radical decision by a federal trial judge, who struck down the 31-year-old gun control law on spurious grounds that conform with the agenda of the anti-gun control lobby but cry out for rejection by the Supreme Court.

Much hinges on how the justices interpret the Second Amendment, which says: "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."

Opponents of gun control sometimes claim a constitutional prohibition on any serious regulation of individual gun ownership. But a lot has changed since America's founding, when people kept muskets to be ready for militia service. What has not changed is the actual language of the Constitution. To get past the first limiting clauses of the Second Amendment to find an unalienable individual right to bear arms seems to require creative editing.




Beyond grappling with fairly esoteric arguments about the Second Amendment, the justices need to responsibly confront modern-day reality. A decision that upends needed gun controls currently in place around the country would imperil the lives of Americans.



What is your opinion will the supreme court rule to uphold the Washington gun laws or for continued mayhem in the streets of the US proving that justice and reason are truly blind
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 11:00 am
I don't think they will. Halliburton and Carlyle would not like it. But they should.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 03:21 pm
From what I have read, the supreme court opinion in this case may only address some very narrow issues. The Washington D.C. ban is a flat ban. There are many other methods of gun control. I am not sure whether the supreme court will actually clarify the issue of whether the second amendment strictly applies to maintaining a militia.
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High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 03:30 pm
Life member of the NRA here watching the case very closely but trusts Chief Justice Roberts and most of current members of the SC to do the right thing - and btw only in its federal status is DC's (not a State, so not entitled to militias to begin with) gun ban at issue (a narrow point) not the Second Amendment to the Constitution per se.

Anyone unfamiliar: the "gun ban" in DC has only led to DC's record highest numbers of deaths by handgun in most years over the past several decades. They also ban drugs and prostitution...Smile
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 03:40 pm
Quote:
I am not sure whether the supreme court will actually clarify the issue of whether the second amendment strictly applies to maintaining a militia.


Indeed how could anyone be so foolish to expect the USSC to address a real world problem.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 06:59 pm
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.

That could be better phrased, I suppose. Whatever they decide is valid, by definition.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Nov, 2007 11:53 pm
roger wrote:
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.


Or instead of an attempt at "interpretation", simply suggest a form of words which would have relevance today. I suppose that would be an amendment.

Something like "in recognition of the fact that there are no legal militias any more, and since we need to move on from the 18th century, the right of private individuals to bear arms is hereby withdrawn".

They could knock that into a suitably sonorous legal-sounding phrase.
0 Replies
 
princesspupule
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 04:43 am
Re: Guns and the Supreme Court
au1929 wrote:
Guns and the Supreme Court

Published: November 21, 2007

What is your opinion will the supreme court rule to uphold the Washington gun laws or for continued mayhem in the streets of the US proving that justice and reason are truly blind


I'm not really sure that you prove that justice and reason are blind if the Supreme Court doesn't uphold the Washington gun laws... I think that the founding fathers wanted citizens of the U.S. to be protected from potential government tyranny...

And as to mayhem on the streets of Washington D.C., you know, if I lived there and truly believed that mayhem were rampant and did not believe police capable of protecting me and my family or home, I would almost certainly get a gun to use for self defense. However, I am not entirely convinced there is, as you put it, "mayhem in the streets," there, or anywhere in the U.S.
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 03:00 pm
au1929 wrote:
Quote:
I am not sure whether the supreme court will actually clarify the issue of whether the second amendment strictly applies to maintaining a militia.


Indeed how could anyone be so foolish to expect the USSC to address a real world problem.


AU - Wandel is actually correct, as per this NRA missive I just received:

Quote:
The NRA will participate in this case through briefs as a friend of the court. Oral arguments are likely to take place in early 2008.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people,' when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." The D.C. Circuit also rejected the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because D.C. is not a state.

The decision marks the first time a Second Amendment challenge to a firearm law has reached the Supreme Court since 1939.

--nra--

0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 06:11 pm
Your amendment would be another interpretation, McTag. Yours.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 07:25 pm
If lawmakers are guilty of tiptoeing around gun control issues, it is because the NRA and other gun rights groups wield an enormous amount of influence in Washington. The source of that influence is money. Gun rights groups have given more than $17 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions to federal candidates and party committees since 1989. Nearly $15 million, or 85 percent of the total, has gone to Republicans. The National Rifle Association is by far the gun rights lobby's biggest donor, having contributed more than $14 million over the past 15 years. Gun control advocates, meanwhile, contribute far less money than their rivals -- a total of nearly $1.7 million since 1989, of which 94 percent went to Democrats. The leading contributor among gun control advocates is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, formerly known as Handgun Control, which has given $1.5 million over the past 15 years.

If gun rights groups have a substantial advantage in campaign contributions, they dominate gun control advocates in the area of lobbying. The NRA alone spent nearly $11 million lobbying elected and government officials from 1997 to 2003. But it wasn't the gun rights lobby's biggest spender. That was Gun Owners of America, which spent more than $18 million on lobbing over the same period. By contrast, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spent under $2 million on lobbying from 1997 to 2003, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence spent $580,000.

The National Rifle Association has an additional advantage over all other groups in the debate. As a membership organization, the NRA can spend unlimited funds on communications to its 4 million members that identify pro-gun candidates. Those members also contribute millions of dollars in limited donations to the NRA's political action committee, which runs ads aimed at the general public that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate. Since 1989, the NRA has spent more than $22 million on communications costs and independent expenditures, with more than $18 million spent in support of Republican candidates.
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 07:30 pm
roger wrote:
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.

That could be better phrased, I suppose. Whatever they decide is valid, by definition.




Woids be mutable.


'Twas ever thus.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 07:51 pm
McTag wrote:
roger wrote:
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.


Or instead of an attempt at "interpretation", simply suggest a form of words which would have relevance today. I suppose that would be an amendment.

Something like "in recognition of the fact that there are no legal militias any more, and since we need to move on from the 18th century, the right of private individuals to bear arms is hereby withdrawn".

They could knock that into a suitably sonorous legal-sounding phrase.


And then you'd have to get it past 2/3 of all the state legislatures and, to do that, you'd have to kill about 80,000,000 people.

A better solution is to split the country up, by counties.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2007 08:38 pm
double post deleted...
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 11:40 am
gungasnake wrote:
McTag wrote:
roger wrote:
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.


Or instead of an attempt at "interpretation", simply suggest a form of words which would have relevance today. I suppose that would be an amendment.

Something like "in recognition of the fact that there are no legal militias any more, and since we need to move on from the 18th century, the right of private individuals to bear arms is hereby withdrawn".

They could knock that into a suitably sonorous legal-sounding phrase.


And then you'd have to get it past 2/3 of all the state legislatures and, to do that, you'd have to kill about 80,000,000 people.


It might be worth it. Think of the hike in the country's average I.Q.

:wink:
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 01:48 pm
roger wrote:
Personally, I think it a crying shame that we have to depend on the Supreme Court being liberal, conservative, or whatever, to produce a valid intrepretation of the constitution.

That could be better phrased, I suppose. Whatever they decide is valid, by definition.



It is a shame, but the conservative justices are entirely results oriented. Thus, they will carefully craft their opinions to meet their preconceived conservative views on the issue at hand rather than the case and statutory law. This was very evident in the Gore case.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 01:57 pm
To say that the public has an unfettered right to bear, the court would have to rule that the reference to a militia was in the nature of a rationale. This would be clearly wrong inasmuch there is no provision in the constitution or, for that matter, in federal law that includes a rationale. The reference was part of a condition precedent.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 07:56 pm
One thing you have to keep in mind is that the idea of a militia was very far from being any sort of an organ of any government; it was in fact a citizen's group intended to prevent tyranny either from without or from within and meant to act as a check on the power of governments.

ARMIES on the other hand were the possessions of kings and governments. A militia was a real-world embodiment of the idea of power to the people.

In the sense intended by the 2'nd amendment, I was practicing with a "militia" today shooting skeets at the IWLC chapter in Md. The term "well regulated" simply meant able to function as a shooting group, i.e. able to line up and shoot and reload in some sort of orderly fashion. The Ikes at Damascus Md. could do that if we had to.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 08:33 pm
Advocate wrote:
To say that the public has an unfettered right to bear, the court would have to rule that the reference to a militia was in the nature of a rationale. This would be clearly wrong inasmuch there is no provision in the constitution or, for that matter, in federal law that includes a rationale. The reference was part of a condition precedent.


Then it is probably also wrong that the Second is the only part of the constitution to confirm an existing right, as opposed to granting rights and powers?
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2007 09:19 pm
roger wrote:
Advocate wrote:
To say that the public has an unfettered right to bear, the court would have to rule that the reference to a militia was in the nature of a rationale. This would be clearly wrong inasmuch there is no provision in the constitution or, for that matter, in federal law that includes a rationale. The reference was part of a condition precedent.


Then it is probably also wrong that the Second is the only part of the constitution to confirm an existing right, as opposed to granting rights and powers?


Basic reality, if there was any one of those amendments which had to be there before anybody would have ratified the constitution, it was the second amendment. When you look at it that way, gun control freaks are basically wanting to go back on a deal, and the deal is still the same: no American allegiance would be owed to a government which were to go back on such a recognition of a basic right after having signed off on it.
0 Replies
 
 

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