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Opening Arguments

Thanks, Plaxico

I don't have any more use for badly behaving pro athletes than anybody else, but Dave Kopel is right on this one:

New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress is facing a mandatory 3½ years in prison and the end of his football career. His crime? Not having a license, which New York City never would have issued him, for the exercise of his constitutional right to bear arams.

To be sure, Mr. Burress got caught because of what appears to have been stupid and irresponsible behavior connect with the handgun. But he does not face prison for shooting himself. His impending mandatory sentence highlights the unfairness and unconstitutionality of New York City's draconian gun laws.

The Heller case, for the first time, established the bearing of arms as an individual right, but, as this piece points out, the Supreme Court did not rule on whether the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments. As this case (or one like it) winds it way up the judicial ladder, that oversight might be corrected. So we may eventually have to thank Burress for his stupid behavior.


Thu, 12/04/2008 - 11:46am

Not sure you want this to be your test case: a guy walking around in a night club with a weapon, apparently loaded with the safety off jammed in the waist band of his sweat pants. In order to prevail, I think the courts would have to find that the individual right is completely divorced from any relationship to the right's stated purpose.

"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."

My reading of the amendment is that the right to bear arms is related to keeping the populace armed to resist tyranny, foreign or domestic. Burress is not even within shouting distance of that. The court would presumably have to find the criminal law unconstitutional on its face. Because, as applied to Burress, it seems entirely reasonable.

Bob G.
Thu, 12/04/2008 - 2:49pm


Oh yeah, that's right...he's a "PRO ATHLETE" (and a role model with mega media exposure & multi-million dollar endorsements out the wazoo)...
Yeah, it ALL makes sense NOW.


Pity he didnt shoot himself a...little...bit...HIGHER.
(a brain IS a terrible thing to waste)

Larry Morris
Thu, 12/04/2008 - 2:53pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Heller only found it to be constitutional to keep arms in your home - they did not address the carry issue. And, as we've already learned, and will continue to learn with the new administration coming in, states and local communities will be able to pass "reasonable" restrictions on firearm ownership. I think the next argument will be the fine line between "reasonable" and "draconian".