Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Few Reactions To Heller

The usual suspects are out in force, running their mouths and looking for a chance to dance in the blood of the innocents.

"I am profoundly disappointed in Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom assured us of their respect for precedent. With this decision, 70 years of precedent has gone out the window. And I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it."
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Can you imagine my complete lack of surprise that this harridan has decided to come down on the side she did? She'd much rather see women raped and murdered than defend themselves with a firearm. Way to go Comrade Feinstein.

"Today, President Bush's radical Supreme Court justices put rigid ideology ahead of the safety of communities in New Jersey and across the country. This decision illustrates why I have strongly opposed extremist judicial nominees and will continue to do so in the future."
- Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Bob Barr's gun control buddy is just another in a long line of people that hate the right of self defence. The passage of his Lautenberg Amendment, (with the support and aid of Bob Barr) has managed to disarm thousands of innocent people for misdemeanors. Why should we expect anything different, right?

"Today's ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country."
- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
As with virtually everything that comes from this petty Marxists mouth he manages to say something and nothing at the same time. Perhaps someone will manage to force a more detailed comment from him. We all know what his true feelings are, given his history.

"Eighty people a day die at the hands of guns. We have got to stop that. The court clearly ruled that reasonable regulations are permitted under that decision."
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
As if there were ever any chance that NYC laws would be changed. Mr. Bloomberg's city is surely one which will see a lawsuit in the near future, if there's any true justice. Unfortunately, as long as NYC has the power to tax their pockets will be deep, where funding of court cases are concerned.

I could only hope that Indiana will take this as a positive sign and do away with their permit system, going to an Alaska or Vermont style carry law - which is more in line with the original intent. We'll have to see what our state politicians say in the coming days.

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Heller Is In And...

It disappoints in many areas. While it affirms that the right to keep and bear arms for defence of self and property, it also leaves intact an array of infringements on the right.

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.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but
does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative
clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it
connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically
capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederal-
ists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in
order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing
army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress
power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear
arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-
bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately
followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious
interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals
that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.
Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts
and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the
late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpre-
tation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor
Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual-
rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not
limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather
limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by
the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.
It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any
manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, con-
cealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment
or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast
doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by
felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of fire-
arms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or
laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of
arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those
“in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition
of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
Pp. 54–56.
3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to
self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban
on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an
entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the
lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scru-
tiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense
of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional
muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the
home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible
for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and
is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument
that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbi-
trarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy
his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.
Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment
rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and
must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.
478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.
SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a
dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ.,
joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS,
SOUTER, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined.
There you have it. The decision that affirms an individual right that most of us already knew existed. Unfortunately, in affirming that right it leaves intact certain provisions which are clearly infringements upon that right. Things such as licensing and registration are allowable under this ruling, as are weapons bans like the assault weapons ban.

While I applaud the decision, I cannot help but be concerned about certain clarifications in the decision.
Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 265 (1886) and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.
This one sentence undoes everything which went before, as it presents the Amendment as something which does not apply to the states, only to the Feds. Whether is will be applied in that fashion is an unknown which will obviously play out over the coming months and years. If Heller is allowed to stand, as is, then we will undoubtedly see the challenges mount in places such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. I can't wait to see them, either. These cases will likely see their day before the SCOTUS, just as Heller did and will serve to further clarify the issue. Not that it needed clarification for some of us. I'm still going to have to sit and think about this one for awhile and then see how it plays out.

Dave Codrea, over at War On Guns has some insight, as well. The War on Guns: HELLER AFFIRMED.

Congratulations to the Heller team and all those who supported them from the outset, (that would not be the NRA, for those who have paid attention).

UPDATE: Radley Balko wades in and touches on the incorporation issue in the Heller decision. Or really the lack of incorporation.
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