Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finally, a sensible ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't had the best track record recently, but they took a turn in the right direction today when they overturned the D.C. gun ban.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, or laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, or laws putting conditions on gun sales.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), the Court nullified two provisions of the city of Washington’s strict 1976 gun control law: a flat ban on possessing a gun in one’s home, and a requirement that any gun — except one kept at a business — must be unloaded and disassembled or have a trigger lock in place. The Court said it was not passing on a part of the law requiring that guns be licensed.

There are still aspects of D.C.'s gun laws that I disagree with, particularly their requirement that all guns be licensed. But this ruling is a huge step in the right direction, because it further establishes and clarifies the individual right of citizens to own firearms. (Note that all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights grant individuals freedom from goverment control; the Second Amendment is the only one that has been construed--by some--as taking away an individual right. This is inconsistent at best.) Now that interpretation has been put to rest.

More here and here.