Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Protecting Second Amendment Rights

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Supreme Court could hand down another pro-gun ruling as it considers whether or not Chicago's handgun ban violates the second amendment.
The Supreme Court seemed ready to rule that gun possession is fundamental to American freedom, a move that for the first time would give federal judges power to strike down state and local weapons laws for infringing Second Amendment rights.
I was listening an NPR recap of today's arguments, and they agreed that the court seemed to be leaning in favor of gun rights. The anti-gun New York Times emphasizes that the court is divided, but even its report concedes that the arguments
suggested that the five-justice majority in the 2008 decision that first identified an individual right to keep and bear arms was prepared to take another major step in subjecting gun control laws to constitutional scrutiny.

The main argument of the gun banners seems to be that guns are different because they can be used to harm or kill people. Therefore states can freely ignore the second amendment and regulate guns however they wish. There's an obvious problem with this argument -- it's completely illogical. What is the point of having a right specifically stated in the Bill of Rights, if it can be utterly negated by state action? A right that supposedly only protects individuals against federal government action is no right at all. 

The Chicago handgun ban is a clear violation of the second amendment and should be overturned by the Supreme Court. We already accept that constitutional rights are subject to certain regulations. For example, free assembly doesn't mean you are free to assemble 50,000 people and block traffic in the middle of a major city -- without getting permits and permission. Likewise, even most gun rights advocates recognize that government can regulate aspects of firearms possession. But the key is whether or not regulation is reasonable and justifiable, rather than an attempt to remove the right entirely. A complete ban on handguns, an entire category of the most popular & handy firearm used for self-defense, is not reasonable regulation. It is a sweeping attack on the right to bear arms itself. Hopefully the articles above are correct, and the court will move to protect and expand individual freedom, by striking down Chicago's unconstitutional gun ban.

No comments:

Post a Comment