Gee, Wonder How This Is Going To Turn Out

Well, it’s official, the Supreme Court has decided it will hear the case against the thirty year old strict gun laws that have persisted since their inception in 1976 in our nation’s capitol.  And boy can I tell you what a shocker this is not going to be.

The fact of the matter is, the Supreme Court has already proven early this year that it has no qualms judiciating under a heavily conservative agenda, and there is hardly any reason to think that they’re going to take this opportunity to change things around a bit.  In fact, according to Lyle Denniston of the Scotusblog, the mere phrasing of the court’s order hints at where the court is planning to go on this one:

Some observers who read the Court’s order closely may suggest that the Court is already inclined toward an “individual rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment. That is because the order asks whether the three provisions of the D.C. gun control law violate “the Second Amendment rights of individuals.” But that phrasing may reveal very little about whether the Amendment embraces an individual right to have a gun for private use.  Only individuals, of course, would be serving in the militia, and there is no doubt that the Second Amendment provides those individuals a right to have a gun for that type of service.  The question the Court will be deciding is, if there are individuals who want to keep pistols for use at home, does the Second Amendment guarantee them that right.  Just because the Second Amendment protects some individual right does not settle the nature of that right.

What saddens me on this issue and turn of events is that this is going to be the case that is chosen to possibly define the Second Amendment for a generation or more.  My chief concern is, as I wrote earlier today, that the situation in DC is a terrible test case in which to frame the entire gun rights debate.

The central reasoning behind this is because the laws were not effective but this ineffectiveness itself stemmed from an environment in which they could not be effective.

Granted, it’s not the job of the Supreme Court to decide whether a law is effective or not, it’s not their job.  Their job is to determine the constitutionality of a law, but here’s the rub.  On one level I fear that the Supreme Court will use this case to take drastic measures to define the Amendment, but on a completely different level, I worry that this will energize the pro-gun lobby in ways that are simply not warranted.

A favorable Supreme Court decision tied with a horrible set of unenforceable laws will provide loads of fodders for those who would have no gun controls at all, and I don’t think that’s a healthy place for this debate to be in.  There are gun control laws that can be put into place, that can make Americans safer, and can still provide people with a right to own responsibly a firearm.

But the work to meet that goal will only get harder if this decision goes the way I already think it’s going to go.

2 Responses to “Gee, Wonder How This Is Going To Turn Out”

  1. Mark says:

    Lawyers have an old saying: Easy cases make bad law.

    That may or may not be the case here, but no matter what the court decides (and the individual rights view is now generally accepted in the mainstream of American legal thought), there is still going to be plenty of room for reasonable gun regulations. I’ve made this argument numerous times over the last few months in other places, and I don’t feel like repeating them right now, but suffice it to say that most rational gun regulations will remain valid regardless of whether gun ownership is an individual right (which, as I said above, it is except under a very strained view of the Constitution).

    Of course, I’ve pointed out before that the economics of gun regulation are such that they’re extremely closely tied to the economics of the Drug War. In other words- if you want to end gun violence, ending the Drug War is the best place to start. Doing so may or may not obviate the rationale for gun regulation, but as long as the Drug War continues in this country, gun regulations really will only affect otherwise law-abiding citizens.

  2. Sevesteen says:

    The DC case came about specifically because gun rights activists believed it to be an excellent case–The individuals are law-abiding wanting to defend themselves against criminals, rather than someone trying to get out of a gun charge.

    If the second amendment is to mean anything, the amount of regulation allowed needs to be clearly established. Imagine the first amendment with the same restrictions as the second–Local government gets to decide which newspapers are acceptable in their jurisdictions, news sources must be registered (The founders did not foresee blogs, where individuals have the ability to reach a mass audience without supervision…) and access to out of state news sources must go through a registered in-state news outlet.

    An example of “sensible laws” led to the Glock pistols carried by many police to fall under both the “Saturday Night Special” import rules (They have to be modified for import, then the modifications removed in the US) and the “Assault Weapon” rules at the same time. Without “regulation of the regulations” gun rights can and will be regulated to the point where the law abiding can not keep track and follow all the rules. Only those willing to break the law will be able to have guns.


  1. Supreme Court Of The United States To Take On D.C. Gun Ban Case - [...] bloggers weigh in, H/T to MemeOrandum: SCOTUS Blog; Hot Air (Right); Comments From Left Field (Left, of course); Wizbang…

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