T Nation

SCOTUS and the Gun Issue

Let’s hope that the justices do the right thing here and rule on behalf of individual rights. I mean seriously, who is the government to tell anyone what they can and cannot own, w/r/t personnel protection, even in the privacy of their own home? WTF!!

Some fuck in a suit telling me what the proper way to defend my home?, and how I should store my guns, and if I need a trigger lock?! Damn, this shit just pisses me off to no end. Like I said, let’s hope that the justices do the right thing here.


[b]Justices Appear Skeptical Of D.C.'s Handgun Ban[/b]

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; A01


A majority of the Supreme Court indicated a readiness yesterday to settle decades of constitutional debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment by declaring that it provides an individual right to own a gun for self-defense.

Such a finding could doom the District of Columbia's ban on private handgun possession, the country's toughest gun-control law, and significantly change the tone and direction of the nation's political battles over gun control.

During oral arguments that drew spectators who had waited for days to be in the courtroom, there was far more skepticism among the justices about the constitutionality of the District's ban on private handgun possession than defense of it.

Justices balanced the commands of a Constitution written more than 200 years ago with the modern-day questions presented by a gun ban that, it was argued, either prevents the law-abiding from a means of self-protection or keeps more guns off the streets of the nation's capital.

The court seemed swept up in the historic nature of its endeavor, examining a part of the Constitution that most believe has never been clearly defined. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. encouraged the lawyers to keep talking well beyond the scheduled 75 minutes.

For all the references to Lord Blackstone and the English Bill of Rights and the Framers' intent, Roberts was succinct in describing how he might view the District's arguments that its gun law is reasonable.

"What's reasonable about a total ban on possession?" he asked Washington lawyer Walter E. Dellinger III, who represented the city.

The clauses of the Second Amendment -- "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" -- have long vexed constitutional scholars. The Supreme Court's last major ruling on the subject, in 1939, stressed the militia-related aspects of the provision.

Roberts quickly signaled his disagreement. "If it is limited to state militias, why would they say 'the right of the people'?" he asked.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, often the deciding vote on the divided court, was next. "In my view," he said, "there's a general right to bear arms quite without reference to the militia either way."

Kennedy expressed, at least three times during the argument, his disbelief that the Framers had not been also concerned about the ability of "the remote settler to defend himself and his family against hostile Indian tribes and outlaws, wolves and bears and grizzlies and things like that."

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. also lent support to the individual interpretation. Justice Clarence Thomas was silent during the arguments, as is his custom, but has previously expressed such a view.

From the District's point of view, deciding there is an individual right would be answering only half the question. Dellinger argued that it is reasonable for the city to ban the "uniquely dangerous" handgun, which "can be taken into schools, into buses, into government office buildings, and that is the particular danger it poses in a densely populated urban area."

The D.C. law, passed in 1976 shortly after residents received the right to govern themselves, also requires that rifles and shotguns kept in private homes be unloaded and disassembled or outfitted with a trigger lock.

Those challenging the law disagree with the District's contention that it provides residents with access to a firearm for self-defense purposes. Several justices agreed.

"How could the District code provision survive under any standard of review where they totally ban the possession of the type of weapon that's most commonly used for self-defense?" Alito asked.

The more liberal justices were most sympathetic to the city. Justice John Paul Stevens repeatedly said that only two states at the time of the framing of the Constitution had individual-right guarantees, and most mentioned the need for guns to provide a "common defense."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that even Lord Blackstone had said gun rights were subject to law and, thus, to restrictions. Justice Stephen G. Breyer was the most aggressive in making the case that local governments may have leeway in restricting gun ownership, based on their own circumstances.

"Is it unreasonable for a city with that high crime rate to say, 'no guns here?' " Breyer asked Alan Gura, the Alexandria-based attorney for security guard Dick Anthony Heller's suit against the city. Before Gura could answer, Scalia interjected, "You want to say yes."

While Gura said it is unreasonable, he conceded that governments could ban ownership of some weapons. Machine guns could be one category, he said, and "plastic" handguns manufactured to escape detection. He said that certain individuals, such as felons, could be banned from gun ownership, and agreed that some licensing of gun ownership would pass constitutional muster.

He hesitated on a question from Stevens: "How about a state university wants to ban students having arms in the dormitory?" "It's something that might be doable, but again, that's so far from what we have here," Gura finally answered. "We have here a ban on all guns, for all people, in all homes, at all times in the nation's capital."

One of the most intriguing aspects of the case has been the position of the Bush administration. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement in a brief urged the court to accept the individual-rights view, but he also said the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit striking down the city's law was too broad.

It held that since handguns can be defined as "arms" under the Second Amendment, they cannot be banned. Clement said such "strict scrutiny" could undermine a host of federal gun-control legislation, including restrictions on machine guns.

His suggestion that the case be sent back to lower courts for more work enraged gun rights advocates, who felt betrayed, and set off a split in the Bush administration when Vice President Cheney joined a brief rebutting the government's position.

Clement did not back down yesterday. He said it would make a "world of difference" to the viability of federal gun control if government restrictions on gun ownership did not have to meet the strictest constitutional standards.

Roberts said finding the standard by which to review all government gun regulations may not be necessary in deciding the constitutionality of the District's law.

Clement said any ruling narrower than that of the appeals court would be welcome.

The case is District of Columbia v. Heller, and will be decided before the court adjourns in late June.

Go guns!

I read the arguments today and a bunch of the amicus briefs a few weeks ago.

Heller’s lawyer is a dumbass who is totally selling us out. We’re obviously in the right, and Scalia is really behind us. That said, I think the court is going to sidestep the issue and do what Bush’s crony Soliciter General wants, which is to say that it IS an individual right, but the restrictions are all reasonable.

There were actually a few funny moments. The D.C. lawyer was talking about how it only takes 3 seconds to undo a gunlock. Scalia and Roberts were both joking about turning on lamps and grabbing reading glasses and stuff before playing with the lock.

A side note on the locks: When my buddy was arrested (bullshit charge) I was sitting in the dispatch office waiting to post bail and they had the gun locks. I told the fat broad working dispatch that I wanted to have twelve of the gun locks. She stared at me like I had a donut growing out of my head. I told her, “What?! I don’t want to lock ALL of my guns up.”

So I put one of the gun locks on my Remmy 870. Well, I went to unlock it later and the key wouldn’t work. I still have to dremel the lock off. Thank God I’m not stupid enough to put one on my self-defense weapons. It sure would suck to die jiggling a key.

mike

I don’t see how they can claim it keeps guns out of the hands of criminals. Anyone in DC can drive 30 minutes into VA to buy a gun. I know a pretty sweet gun shop in NorVA that’s got anything you want.

If this was about cleaning up the streets, writing a law that anyone found carrying a handgun without a proper license goes to federal prison is no problem. In Richmond it’s called Project Exile, it’s been very successful and doesn’t interfere with the rights of law abiding citizens in any way. So it’s not about safer streets, it’s about the anti-gun jihad trying to see what they can get away with.

Those bastards better decide the right way.

With the chief justice driving hard at DC’s lawyers as to what, precisely, is reasonable about a total ban and the swing vote flatly announcing that in his view there is a private right of ownership separate and apart from any ‘well-regulated militia’ qualification gun owners have little to fear from this court.

[quote]BackForMore wrote:
With the chief justice driving hard at DC’s lawyers as to what, precisely, is reasonable about a total ban and the swing vote flatly announcing that in his view there is a private right of ownership separate and apart from any ‘well-regulated militia’ qualification gun owners have little to fear from this court.[/quote]

That is true, but keep in mind that the court is being quite friendly to the administration’s position that the right is an individual one…but these restrictions are reasonable. It seems to me that the court recognizes the scope of this case and it is the exception rather than the rule that the court tackles problems head on.

They most likely will uphold the lower court’s decision, but my money says that it will be done so in a way that will have little effect on anything outside of D.C. This is especially true when Heller’s own lawyer is conceding most every point that gun rights advocates wish him to push. He has conceded that the right can be “reasonably” infringed as all rights are. He has conceded that machine guns and current federal level firearms laws are okay. (I love how he claims it is because machine guns aren’t in common use. Perhaps they aren’t in common use because they’ve almost been regulated out of civilian existence.) He has claimed that it is okay to abridge the rights maybe depending upon looking at crime statistics. He has conceded that guns on a university campus may still be properly regulated. He has conceded that licensing requirements are okay. He has kept this in a remarkably narrow context.

I could be wrong, but I do take some hope in the belief that the court is about 90% sure of their position long before the oral arguments. (hehe, oral)

mike

A line in the sand will have to be drawn, sooner or later. The entire Western world has nearly been disarmed - Australia, the UK, continental Europe (Switzerland aside). There has been widespread noncompliance with Canada’s gun registry, but they still have one. It’s only a matter of time here, given the way things are going.

If anyone here trusts the government to protect them from the Muslims or Mexican gangsters or police ninja squads, by all means, turn your guns in when they demand them. Otherwise, we’ll have to politely ignore the government’s request. If you believe the government is an enabler of the jihad and the Somalia on the southern border, keep your guns. We saw what happened in New Orleans when those people were disarmed. HOw many more examples do we need?

Sooner or later, a big gun grab is coming here. We ought to decide right now how we’ll respond. They’re not goign to give up even if they fail to disarm us here.

[quote]Mikeyali wrote:
BackForMore wrote:
With the chief justice driving hard at DC’s lawyers as to what, precisely, is reasonable about a total ban and the swing vote flatly announcing that in his view there is a private right of ownership separate and apart from any ‘well-regulated militia’ qualification gun owners have little to fear from this court.

That is true, but keep in mind that the court is being quite friendly to the administration’s position that the right is an individual one…but these restrictions are reasonable. It seems to me that the court recognizes the scope of this case and it is the exception rather than the rule that the court tackles problems head on.

They most likely will uphold the lower court’s decision, but my money says that it will be done so in a way that will have little effect on anything outside of D.C. This is especially true when Heller’s own lawyer is conceding most every point that gun rights advocates wish him to push. He has conceded that the right can be “reasonably” infringed as all rights are. He has conceded that machine guns and current federal level firearms laws are okay. (I love how he claims it is because machine guns aren’t in common use. Perhaps they aren’t in common use because they’ve almost been regulated out of civilian existence.) He has claimed that it is okay to abridge the rights maybe depending upon looking at crime statistics. He has conceded that guns on a university campus may still be properly regulated. He has conceded that licensing requirements are okay. He has kept this in a remarkably narrow context.

I could be wrong, but I do take some hope in the belief that the court is about 90% sure of their position long before the oral arguments. (hehe, oral)

mike[/quote]

I think you are right but even so it is a huge step in the right direction.

[sarcasm]Thank goodness that we have these 9 unelected kings to put our democracy back on track![/sarcasm]

[quote]nephorm wrote:
[sarcasm]Thank goodness that we have these 9 unelected kings to put our democracy back on track![/sarcasm][/quote]

Just wait until Reverend Wright is appointed.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
nephorm wrote:
[sarcasm]Thank goodness that we have these 9 unelected kings to put our democracy back on track![/sarcasm]

Just wait until Reverend Wright is appointed.[/quote]

Hence the need for a line in the sand.

[quote]Mikeyali wrote:
I read the arguments today and a bunch of the amicus briefs a few weeks ago.

Heller’s lawyer is a dumbass who is totally selling us out. We’re obviously in the right, and Scalia is really behind us. That said, I think the court is going to sidestep the issue and do what Bush’s crony Soliciter General wants, which is to say that it IS an individual right, but the restrictions are all reasonable.

There were actually a few funny moments. The D.C. lawyer was talking about how it only takes 3 seconds to undo a gunlock. Scalia and Roberts were both joking about turning on lamps and grabbing reading glasses and stuff before playing with the lock.

A side note on the locks: When my buddy was arrested (bullshit charge) I was sitting in the dispatch office waiting to post bail and they had the gun locks. I told the fat broad working dispatch that I wanted to have twelve of the gun locks. She stared at me like I had a donut growing out of my head. I told her, “What?! I don’t want to lock ALL of my guns up.”

So I put one of the gun locks on my Remmy 870. Well, I went to unlock it later and the key wouldn’t work. I still have to dremel the lock off. Thank God I’m not stupid enough to put one on my self-defense weapons. It sure would suck to die jiggling a key.

mike[/quote]

Trigger locks are a bullshit feelgood measure and nothing more. An individuals choice for personnel defense should be his/her decision only. How a family stores their weapons in their own homes is not the business of the government. Period. End of story.

Personally. I don’t mind jumping through a few hoops so that I may hold a CCW license and lawfully carry a firearm, so long as it doesn’t equate to some sort of national registry. I’m a law abiding citizen (aside from when I’m shattering the speed limit on a motorcycle ;-]), and I do not want to depend on a continually shrinking police dept. to protect my family. I will depend on my own defense capabilities thank you very much. To me, it all boils down to rugged self reliance. A virtue the left is desperately trying to stamp out.

Why do I imagine Mike’s cellar looks something like this?

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Why do I imagine Mike’s cellar looks something like this?[/quote]

That is his living room. He keeps the good stuff in the basement.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Why do I imagine Mike’s cellar looks something like this?[/quote]

Are you implying that’s a bad thing? Cause to me that looks like a kickass rec-room.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Sloth wrote:
Why do I imagine Mike’s cellar looks something like this?

That is his living room. He keeps the good stuff in the basement.[/quote]

Heh. Well, if the Graboids show up in his part of the country, the neighbors will know who to turn to.

[quote]Uncle Gabby wrote:
Sloth wrote:
Why do I imagine Mike’s cellar looks something like this?

Are you implying that’s a bad thing? Cause to me that looks like a kickass rec-room.[/quote]

Nah, not at all. Just some friendly banter.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
Sooner or later, a big gun grab is coming here. We ought to decide right now how we’ll respond. They’re not goign to give up even if they fail to disarm us here.[/quote]

There are way too many guns in America and gun owners for this to happen. It would be like making drugs illegal, well duh they are illegal but millions of people still have them and have access to them. A firearms ban would not work in America. If your that worried about it then move to a rural area, the cops and black helicopters will be quite busy dealing with the big population centers and not really concerned with Joe Deerhunter


Unfortunately, this about all there is to my home defense armory.

P.S. Ok, no more thread hijacking, sorry.