Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The right to bear arms

The Supreme Court is going to take the Washington DC gun control case. A DC citizen took DC to court claiming that he had a right to keep a loaded piece at home and the DC anti gun ordinance outright bans ownership of handguns and requires long guns to be stored unloaded and disassembled. Case lost the first time, but won on appeal. Now the Supreme Court has stepped up to decide if "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" means you can keep a loaded gun in your house in case of burglars.
The newsies have hyped this as the case of the century. I wonder. In actual fact American citizens believe they have a right to keep a gun in the house, and in the car and in the cash drawer and other handy places. I doubt they will give up this quaint colonial custom anytime soon, no matter what the court rules.
So the Supreme Court can rule two ways on this one. They can rule that the 2nd Amendment means what it says. This will please the vast majority of ordinary citizens and outrage the chattering classes. Or they can invent a penumbra or something, rule that the 2nd amendment is "inoperative" , turn the vast majority of citizens into lawbreakers, and make the chattering classes happy.
If the court has two brain cells firing, they will rule that the 2nd amendment means what it says. But they are nine lawyers, and lawyers are dumb as rocks, so it's anyone's guess what the ruling will be.

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