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Opening Arguments

Bang, bang

Here's the big one everybody has been waiting for:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington D.C.'s sweeping ban on handguns is unconstitutional.

The justices voted 5-4 against the ban with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.

At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether the city's ban violated the Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" by preventing individuals -- as opposed to state militias -- from having guns in their homes.

The court merely confirmed what many of us believed: that the Second Amendment protects an individual -- not collective -- right to bear arms. I wish this would stop liberals -- who normally make the Constitution up as they go along -- from continuing to disingenously invoke the Framer's "intent" in this one case, but I won't count on it.

UPDATE: Here's the text of Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion pdf file). The vote was 5-4. Guess who was on which side? Yeah, the ususal.

UPDATE 2: Here's a nice summary of what the decision means. And if you don't want to read the whole text, here are some quotes from it.


Larry Morris
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 10:51am

All I can say is woo-hoo, ...

Harl Delos
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 11:12am

Was Brady a liberal?

The thing that has always bewildered me is that politicians show up in camo or in Carhartt and plaid, and talk about how they think hunting is great. The second amendment doesn't say a *thing* about shooting ring-neck pheasant, nor about "plinking". The guns that are most obviously protected are assault rifles and other guns intended for use upon people.

There was a piece in the Inquirer this morning, about a guy who lied in order to buy a gun, because his girlfriend slapped an Order of Protection on him, making it illegal for him to buy a gun. I suspect those will have to be modified, too, to remain within constitution limits. It might be reasonable to prohibit a guy from approaching his girlfriend or his ex while carrying a weapon, but there's no reason why he shouldn't be armed if he's a mile or further away.

If the OOP keeps him from flat-out approaching her, the issue of guns is moot, isn't it?

Bob G.
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 12:47pm

Now Larry...try to curb your "enthusiasm"...

Try..."HOT DAMN" instead, OK?


(Next stop - open carry!)

jon olinger
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 3:16pm

No Brady was a conservative....It took a round to the head and a loss of 100 IQ points to become a liberal.

jon olinger
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 4:33pm


Harl Delos
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 4:43pm

So who shot Paul Helmke in the head, Jon?

The answer, of course, is that he's not. He ran against Coats and lost. Then he ran against Coats and won, but lost to Bayh. Then he ran against Souder and lost. What's the difference between a politician and a whore? A politician won his election.

jon olinger
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 5:09pm

Politician is much more expensive..... BTW... I

Bob G.
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 5:17pm

If you need armed escort...I'm available.
And when it comes to defending yourself...police might be only minutes away, but your firearm is less than a few seconds (in most cases) away.
You do the math.



Leo Morris
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 5:56pm

I agree with the irrelevance of hunting and self-defense as Second Amendment arguments, as fine and noble as those pursuits are. What I think Scalia got right was putting the amendment in the context of what the Framers understood about the militia. They feared a standing army's potential for abuse of power, so the answer was a militia ready to go at a moment's notice. That means everyone had to be armed -- hence, the individual rights guranteede by the amendment -- but with the weapons generlly available. So, today, we can have guns and rifles but not bazookas and hand grenads, and "reasonable" limits on such things as background checks and sales near schols can be imposed. This is a much narrower decisions than one gun advocates might have hoped for and liberals probably feared.

Jon Olinger
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 6:04pm

Hand grenades may be illegal... but hand grenads are a Freudian slip. lol...

Bob... I'd love an armed escort... two large caliber handguns are better than one.

Thu, 06/26/2008 - 8:59pm

Hand granades, hand granads ...both pass my spell checker.

Reminds me of the the quote by one of the NBA's all-time great coaches and wisecrackers, Bill Fitch, who expanded on an old saw as he watched his Cleveland Cavaliers lose a close one:

"Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and at the drive-in-movies." (This was in 1976).

He forgot about quoytes, but come to think of it "close" counted for the Constitutionalists today.

tim zank
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 9:26pm

Well Fellas...all the other bulls$it aside, I'm thrilled to see that the SCOTUS has arrived at a decision that actually follows the constituion for a change. They read the verbage and actually took it at it's face value instead of "enhancing" or reading in to it.

Wow, what a fuc#king concept, eh?

Thu, 06/26/2008 - 11:14pm

Clever, Jon, clever. Did Leo re-write it for you a la Harper?

Harl Delos
Thu, 06/26/2008 - 11:55pm

My regular spell checker is google.com. When I do a search on granads, it responds "Did you mean: grenades" And when I type grenads or granads into this window, it gets underlined.

Bill Fitch was trading on Frank Robinson, who in 1935 said, "Close doesn

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 9:04am

That quip about Brady being shot in the head is hilarious, jon. Remind me to make a joke about Ronald Reagan drooling into his oatmeal.

Steve T.
Fri, 06/27/2008 - 2:06pm

Actually, an individual in the future need not claim "militia rights" to justify possession of one type of arm or another for his or her security.

It is more historically valid to read the so-called preamble -- grammatically speaking, the subordinate clause -- in the Second Amendment as a reassurance to the people of their own continued security in the face of states' post-revolutionary aspirations to maintain their own armed militias. Don't forget that the states still considered themselves sovereign entities through much of this period, printing their own state monies, protecting their own borders to a degree, and engaging in what amounted to foreign trade with one another across state lines.

Washington's Continental Army was disbanded quickly after the war largely because the American people, aka People, were allergic to the notion of an army sitting around America with nothing to do but wait for further government orders. The army was hence disbanded -- and Americans were very nearly as allergic to the "sovereign states'" desires, after the war, to create and maintain their own separate militias, though state governments persisted in defending their need for such little armies.

Alexander Hamilton was one of those who made the case that the People need never fear state militia -- SINCE THEY WOULD ALWAYS, OF COURSE, MAINTAIN THEIR FULL RIGHTS TO ARMS THE EQUAL OF THOSE BORNE BY A STATE MILITIA, and in larger numbers, since there would always be far more citizens than militia soldiers in a given state.

Read in this light, the wording of the Second Amendment is not vague at all, but is as economically graceful as the rest of the Bill of Rights -- it acknowledges a desire of government for militia, and immediately assures Americans that their full natural rights to keep & bear arms shall never be infringed.

Ironically many contemporaries thought the Bill of Rights a lunkheadedly obvious, totally unnecessary exercise, like assuring the American people that the sun would rise each morning.

But that view clearly, though maybe understandably in simpler times, failed to account for the kind of people who won't even stipulate as to what the word is is.

Jon Olinger
Fri, 06/27/2008 - 6:18pm

...Yeah.... what he said.

Jon Olinger
Fri, 06/27/2008 - 6:28pm

Oh...and btw Nance if Ronald Reagan would have actually drooled into his oatmeal the oatmeal would have cost less, been more efficient and either the oatmeal or the drool would have trickled down.

tim zank
Fri, 06/27/2008 - 8:13pm

Steve T... spot on as always!

Jon, You are KILLIN' me! Well done sir.