Unless you have been underground for the past couple of years, you are aware that the US Supreme Court recently ruled in the Heller case. For the first time in the country’s history, an ultimate legal decision has been made as to whether the right to keep and bear arms is an individual or collective right. The court said a lot of things in its opinion. Of note:
- The right to keep and bear arms is an individual, natural right that shall not be infringed. What this means is that the right existed before the Constitution existed and that the Bill of Rights spelled out this natural right (enumerated) so as to prevent infringement by government.
- This individual right is not tied to participation in formal military service.
- That reasonable regulation, such as preventing convicted felons from owning firearms, is allowed.
- And that it is unconstitutional for a city (such as DC) to outlaw the use of all handguns.
There are many other things expressed in the opinion, but these are the top of mind “big deals” that are immediately apparent. The NRA and various other gun rights groups have already begun filing actions against cities such as Chicago and San Francisco which have similar, Draconian handgun laws. Heller will be the beginning of a lot of litigation to come. That is absolutely certain.
What I would like to do now is establish a “blog trialogue” with the authors of the Electric Venom and Opining Online blogs. We are going to take a look at various aspects of the Second Amendment and gun laws in the US and bounce some questions off of each other. It may or may not be an effective process, but we are going to try! Comments on any and all of the blogs are welcomed with regard to this trialogue.
First Topic and it is aimed at Opining Online:
I think that both of us agree that firearms are tools and, as such, it’s kind of silly to affix blame for crimes on tools. A car is just a tool, but when somebody runs over and kills a pedestrian with their Ford F150, the truck didn’t do it, the driver did. We don’t have laws that outlaw an F150 because it is used more often in pedestrian killings and we don’t hold Ford Motor Company or the local Ford dealer responsible for the pedestrian death. But we do outlaw certain kinds of firearms and we have tried to hold firearms manufacturers and dealer responsible for crimes committed by individuals who used their products. Long set-up, eh?
We’ve tried a lot of regulations that seem to fly in the face of logic and that also seems to be less than effective. Hell, DC has had their silly handgun ban for many decades and it is still one of the most dangerous places to live in the country in regard to handgun violence. SCOTUS stated that reasonable restrictions are allowable under the Constitution. One would think that reasonable should equal effective, but maybe not. My question to you is multi-part: What is the definition of a reasonable restriction on firearms? How do we determine if that restriction is effective? And, should those reasonable restrictions be harmonized, uniform, across all the States (or should individual jurisdictions be allowed to have their own rules?)? What say you, Ms. Opining?