SCOTUS Looks Prepared to Strike Down DC Handgun Ban

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Guns and Ammo, Supreme Court

Based on the justice’s demeanors and questions during today’s 2nd Amendment Supreme Court case, early guesses have the court overturning the DC handgun ban. There also looks to be a 5-4 split with the four most liberal justices bowing to the “common defense” interpretation of the amendment which focuses on the “militia” aspect as grounds for constitutionally restricting gun ownership.

The swing-vote is assumed to be Justice Anthony Kennedy and he seemed to be leaning to a more straight-forward interpretation that guarantees citizens the right to bear arms including handguns. A 5-4 split would be unfortunately predictable as it would reinforce the notion that our Constitution is completely malleable and wholly subject to the ideologies of our Supreme Court justices. For this issue, I would like to see some uncommon agreement between the liberals and conservatives on the court.

We’ll most likely have their decision sometime in June.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 and is filed under Guns and Ammo, Supreme Court. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “SCOTUS Looks Prepared to Strike Down DC Handgun Ban”

  1. BenG Says:

    Mr. Carl,
    Nice sentiment – but no chance. This is one of those contentious issues that divide us, but not necessarily along political lines and that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s more of a life experience issue, as we see conservative mayors in big cities cross the line in favor of tighter gun control, and Dem. congressmen from red states who carry hand guns across state lines where they’re outlawed – oops!
    But that’s how politics makes cowards of us all, as we always seem to go back to our comfortable side and root for our ‘team’. But no worries, if you run for office you’ll straighten all that out, and nobody will be the wiser.

    As far as our constitution goes, I think the Framers programmed in the malleable part on purpose, however this particular section was vague enough to make it very tricky. I guess that’s why you’d like to see some concrete decision here- but it’s not gonna happen. I’ll be watchin for any updates, thanks in advance.

  2. kritter Says:

    I am actually hopeful that the June strike down might be 6-3 or 7-2. I expect scotus to affirm gun-bearing as an individual right, and I also expect them to outline what the law has established over time about the criteria that government needs to follow in regulating and enforcing the responsibilities that come along with the sorts of individual rights that the Bill of Rights grants.

    The intent of the 2nd was to establish this individual right. It’s pretty clear from the historical background and the location of the passage in the bill of rights. But that doesn’t mean that therefore the government can’t balance that right against other important imperatives. Notice that the first amendment free speech right does not protect libel, slander, or incitement to violence or panic. The right o bear can be regulated by licensing and by revocation in cases of criminal behavior or lack of a sound mind.

    How much leeway does the public safety imperative give to government? I dunno, but I expect the court to say that government has to try much harder to protect individual rights. If you institute a ban, you’re not even trying. You’re making a constitutional right subordinate to a general imperative, And the constitution doesn’t say anywhere that items in the bill of rights can be overruled just because the government has other important imperatives.

    SCOTUS will tell DC to balance the public safety imperative against a clear constitutional right that must be respected and protected, I’m sure of it.

    Then again, there’s Kelo, so I guess you never know.

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