Friday, March 09, 2007

Victory for constitutionalists

In the most important ruling on gun control in 70 years, a federal appeals court Friday for the first time used the Second Amendment to strike down a gun law.

In a 2-1 decision, the court overturned the District of Columbia’s long-standing handgun ban, rejecting the city’s argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias.

The majority held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment “are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent” on enrollment in a militia.

The ruling is a victory for Tom Palmer, a Washington resident who was once assaulted and wants a gun in the house for self-defense.

"The fact is that the criminals don't obey the law and they do have guns," he said. "It's the law-abiding citizens who are disarmed by this law."

He was one of six who went to court to challenge the city's gun law, passed as an anti-crime measure 30 years ago. It outlaws handguns or rifles except for residents with permits, mainly police or security guards.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said the ruling could put more guns in the hands of young people. "I am personally deeply disappointed and quite frankly outraged by today's decision," he said. "Today's decision flies in the face of laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of Columbia."

Gun violence has decreased in DC? That's news to me. It must be all those law-abiding criminals who were disheartened when the ban took place. Anywho, continuing:
The ruling revives a long fight over the 27 words 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."

Gun control advocates argue that the phrase "well-regulated militia" means that owning a gun is a group right, subject to restriction.

But the court essentially said the right to bear arms is an individual right for private activities, including self-defense.

“The district’s definition of the militia is just too narrow,” Judge Laurence Silberman wrote for the majority. “There are too many instances of ‘bear arms’ indicating private use to conclude that the drafters intended only a military sense.”

That's one thing that has always annoyed me about the left. You have to be a really obtuse boob to conclude that of the original Bill of Rights, all but one were written for individual rights and the one exception (the Second Amendment) was written for groups only. As if the Constitution needed to clarify that the military had a right to use weapons?? Anywho:
Judge Karen Henderson dissented, writing that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a state.

Silberman wrote that the Second Amendment is still “subject to the same sort of reasonable restrictions that have been recognized as limiting, for instance, the First Amendment.”

Such restrictions might include gun registration, firearms testing to promote public safety or restrictions on gun ownership for criminals or those deemed mentally ill.

That's a dissent that is completely inconsistent and incoherent. First of all, she says that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to D.C. because D.C. isn't a state. OK, then neither does the First Amendment (free speech, free press, etc.) or the rest of the Bill of Rights, for that matter! Tell that b#tch to shut up, since she no longer has a First Amendment right to flap her gums. Hell, neither does Congress...and the Washington comPost! Wow...come to think of it, that Silberman chick may be on to something here!

OK, after telling us that DC doesn't have to abide by the Constitution, she then says that restrictions can be placed on the rights that DC...well, that DC doesn't have. Oooooooooo-kay then. I swear, if I didn't know any better, I would guess that the judge had her mind made up in advance and was trying to craft an opinion around her predetermined ruling! Nah...that never happens.

DC says they will appeal. It will be interesting to see if SCOTUS will hear it, and if so, which way the 5-4 ruling will go (since the four libs will side with DC, the four conservatives will side with the gun owner, and Kennedy will flip a coin).