26 June 2008

I Dare to Bear (Arms)

It's a thing of beauty...

That is a picture of the Smith & Wesson M&P .40 caliber handgun, the newest member of my family. I actually bought it a few months ago, but wanted to save this post for the very important Supreme Court decision in DC v. Heller (complete majority opinion found here). An excerpt from the beginning:

1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

It may surprise some of you that there could be disagreement on the question, as 73% of Americans already believed in an individual's right to own firearms, but in the 70 years since the last major court opinion on the 2nd Amendment that very question had emerged.

I decided to purchase a gun in part because of my belief in this right. I'm not concerned for my safety, nor do I live in an area where crime is a real problem. I just wanted to exercise my right to own a firearm. So I did, and now the Supreme Court has (according to the majority) simply affirmed a long-standing right. From the SCOTUS Blog:

The individual right interpretation, the Court said, “is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment,” going back to 17th Century England, as well as by gun rights laws in the states before and immediately after the Amendment was put into the U.S. Constitution.
What Congress did in drafting the Amendment, the Court said, was “to codify a pre-existing right, rather than to fashion a new one.”

SCOTUS blog also has an interesting roundup of quotes here. I also happen to believe this.

In most democracies gun rights are not enshrined and are often severely limited, if not eliminated. Author and legal analyst Dave Kopel discusses whether gun control presents a danger to human right in this article. It is an interesting concept to think about.

It will be interesting to see the many questions that come from this ruling. Already the National Rifle Association has sued to overturn Chicago's ban on firearms. As someone said today, the job security of 2nd Amendment lawyers is pretty good right now.


Sportsattitude said...

Lowdogg, while we don't always agree on this political we are in 100% agreement on this post. I myself have toyed with the idea of buying a firearm just to ensure my right to do so. This was a fascinating discussion and ruling and perhaps you have inspired me to "take the plunge." My whole issue with gun control is that common folk shouldn't be able to by bazookas or missle launchers, or Rambo-like arsenal. But we are all protected in our right to buy a gun that can comfortably protect our life, property, etc.

Jlowryjr said...

Thanks for the comment.


Anonymous said...

Sweet gun man. I've got gun envy or genvy as it's more commonly known. I think I need to hold off on getting a gun though, my wife has a temper...