Buy a gun

 Posted by at 11:51  General
Jun 282010

It is now time for all good Americans to buy a gun. At least all good Americans that do not wish to be shot to death by other good Americans. Kill or be killed…

Supreme Court limits local gun bans

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.

By a 5-4 vote split along familiar ideological lines, the nation’s highest court extended its landmark 2008 ruling that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own guns to all the cities and states for the first time.

In doing so, the justices signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges. The ruling involved a 28-year-old handgun ban in the Chicago area.

The ruling was a victory for four Chicago-area residents, two gun rights groups and the politically powerful National Rifle Association.

It was a defeat for Chicago, which defended its ban as a reasonable exercise of local power to protect public safety. The law and a similar handgun ban in suburban Oak Park, Ill., were the nation’s most restrictive gun control measures.

Monday’s decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws, ordering a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. It left little doubt, however, that they would fall eventually.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

It is interesting that federal law trumps state law when it comes to gun ownership, but the reverse is true when it comes to such a fundamental right as getting married.

  16 Responses to “Buy a gun”

  1. This dovetails in with the current drive towards austerity in government. Why, if everybody has a gun, why do we need police officers anyhow?! Clearly the solution for the pasty flabby Libertarian cubicle dweeb, if someone breaks into his home, is to dig under his mattress for the .22 caliber revolver that he placed there at some point in the past, and with shaking trembling hands, try to figure out how to shoot this weapon (which he has never fired before of course) at a hardened criminal who is both armed with a quality weapon and knows how to use it. The outcome of this gunfight will result in a dead criminal right? Right?! Alrighty, then!

    -Badtux the Snarky penguin

  2. very good information about the law.

  3. It’s because ‘they’ don’t really give a hoot about states rights vs federal rights. It’s all about what rights do ‘we’ want to have and what rights don’t ‘we’ want ‘others’ to have. Their logic is a twisty snake that leads to black is white and white is always right and the Constitution is the Bible unless we need for it do be otherwise.

  4. Why should anyone be allowed to own a gun? Seems crazy to me. If guns were completely banned this would be much more straighforward and in the long run, save lives.

  5. Well, I suppose if you repealed the 2nd Amendment that would be an option. It has astonished me for decades that nobody supporting gun control has ever proposed the clear solution to Supreme Court decisions upholding the 2nd Amendment — i.e., just repeal the friggin’ thing and get on with it. But as long as you believe in rule of law, simply ignoring the 2nd Amendment and pretending it doesn’t exist is as objectionable as simply ignoring the 1st, 4th, or 5th Amendments of the Bill of Rights and pretend they don’t exist. The Constitution has a *mechanism* for doing that, which is called an amendment to repeal an amendment (see Prohibition), and that’s the legit way to go about it.

    Note that I don’t believe guns are magic talismans or particularly useful in most encounters with the criminal element (criminality tends to select for the most vicious and violent, you put a vicious and violent armed criminal up against a meek mild arm-trembling book-keeper and you know who wins that gunfight), and I regularly make fun of gun fetishists who use their guns as penis extenders. But I also believe in rule of law, because the alternative is not nice at all…

  6. @ Badtux:
    There is another option. We could read the second amendment as it was written…

    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.

    The right of the people who comprise a well regulated Militia to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, since said well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State.

    Somehow I doubt that the “meek mild arm-trembling book-keeper” to whom you refer belongs to any well regulated Militia.

  7. Uhm, Len, a justification clause does not invalidate the result clause that follows it. Explaining *why* our founding fathers wanted a certain thing to be a right doesn’t make that thing any less a right. Once you start insisting that the plain language of the Constitution doesn’t mean what any 4th grader can read it as meaning, we end up with atrocities such as “Free Speech Zones” which make a mockery of the notions of freedom of speech and freedom of assemble (yeah right, free to speak and free to assemble… in Farmer John’s cow pasture, 40 miles from town). Slippery slope argument? Bud, we been on that slope so long, we’re pretty much supersonic.

  8. @ Badtux:
    Sorry, I don’t see what you call a justification clause. I see a clear statement. We’ll have to disagree on this one, I guess. Fourth grader? Well, thanks for that. At least I can consider myself better educated than the average Texan (I guess).

    If the Founding Fathers had intended to write what you (and the current majority on the Supreme Court) believe they intended, why did they not just write “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed?” Why even mention a Militia?

    Then again, the possibility exists that I am misinterpreting your intent. Am I?

  9. My intent is irrelevant, what is relevant is what’s actually written there. The preceding two clauses do not render the final clause invalid, they simply explain why the founders wrote the final clause. And my point, which was clear and simple, was that in order to end these arguments once and for all the Constitution has a clear mechanism for amending it. We can amend it to say, “The 2nd Amendment is now hereby repealed” and then there isn’t a dispute over whether the first two clauses nullifies the final clause, it’s over, much in the same way that the 14th Amendment struck out the 3/5ths clause and ended the slavery dispute once and for all.

    It’s called rule of law. And it’s a good idea, for many, many reasons. It astounds me that there are people who would actually oppose answering the question once and for all of whether Americans have a right to own firearms…

  10. @ Badtux:
    I don’t think it is necessary to repeal the second amendment. All we need to do is start reading it as it was written. The Constitution is exactly like the Bible… folks have a tendency to read into it what they want it to say.

  11. Uhm, you do realize that I said exactly the same thing you said? Thing is, I’m reading the literal text, as vs. what I want it to say. I think it’s idiotic that we have in our Constitution a right to keep and bear arms — modern weaponry is not the primitive single-shot muskets and rifles of 1775, do we really want it written into our Constitution that people have a right to keep and bear anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles or even large bunker buster bombs or (gasp) nuclear weapons? Because that’s what the last clause of that amendment implies. Thing is, I don’t write away an entire clause of the Constitution just because two preceding clauses describe why that last clause exists. Reading what’s there, rather than what I *want* to be there, is what I’m trying to do, which implies that if we really want to make sure the law outlawing private possession of nuclear weapons is upheld by some future U.S. Supreme Court, we need to do it the legal way by changing the Constitution, not by reading into the Constitution what we *want* it to say.

  12. @ Badtux:
    So we agree, then? That’s great! Here, I think, is how the 2nd amendment would read had it been written in today’s English:

    “Since a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free nation, the right of the members of that militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    I’m not reading into the Constitution what I *want* it do say. I am reading into the Constitution what it *does* say. Those who do not choose to agree with me are reading into the Constitution what they *want* it to say. 😉

  13. The thing is, your “translation” doesn’t say what the original says.

    Perhaps the next-to-the-last wording of the proposed 2nd Amendment, while it was being debated in Congress, might clarify things:

    “A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

    This made it clear that the body of the people (i.e. *everybody*) were the militia. This also implies that the military draft (compelled military service) was Constitutional. The problem that Congress had in the debates on the definition of who was the militia and who could be compelled to be in the militia was the question of what to do about conscientious objectors. The Quakers refused to serve, regardless, and there were other religious groups which had similar objections to military service. The last clause originally simply gave them the right to not serve, but others pointed out that this rendered the military draft entirely ineffectual, since anybody could claim to have moral qualms about serving. Then the last clause was changed to say that they could opt out of being part of the militia, but then they’d have to hire someone to take their place. Even that made them object strenuously that their religion prohibited them doing anything that would result in use of arms against fellow human beings, even to hiring replacement soldiers to serve in their place. Finally the question was punted in much the same way the slavery question was punted and the two clauses defining the militia and those who could opt out of the militia were removed entirely.

    So… does the 2nd Amendment protect the right of states to raise militias? Does it protect the right of states to draft militias? Does it protect individual’s rights to own militia weapons, as long as they follow proper regulations for their storage and use? If your local National Guard has F-16’s in its inventory, does that mean that anybody in your state has a right to own their very own F-16, complete with bombs and missiles, as long as they are properly secured and used? Or does it embody an English common law right of self defense that pre-existed the Constitution and which implies that all weapons capable of being used for self defense are legal? Those are all questions which aren’t answered absolutely by either the text of the 2nd Amendment or the debates leading up to its passage, and are why the correct response to Supreme Court decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms is to repeal the 2nd Amendment, not try to read into it what we want to read into it.

  14. @ Badtux:
    So we don’t agree, after all.

    The thing is, your “translation” doesn’t say what the original says.

    You see, I believe that my “translation” says exactly what the authors intended. I think you’re trying to read way too much into it. They wrote one sentence. Twenty-seven words (in poor order and with a few ill-placed commas). You’ve stretched it out to two long paragraphs. Others have literally written books about it.

    Just read what’s there.

    And thanks for this… it’s been fun.

  15. Some people advocate banning guns, but turn the idea on it’s head…what if EVERYONE owned a gun? (And had the proper training to use it, of course.) Wouldn’t that be just as safe as if there was a gun ban in place? There was a time when learning how to handle and fire a gun was part of every kid’s upbringing, part of daily life. Would it be so wrong to go back to that? Maybe part of the reason crime has become so bad is _because_ of gun restrictions, the general public owning less guns makes them more vulnerable to the criminals, kwim?

  16. @ Ruth:
    Hey, Ruth. Good to see you.

    You know, I may have agreed with you 200 years ago. Back then, you needed a gun to protect yourself from the bears and wildcats when you went to the outhouse. Your closest neighbor was probably 20 miles away. Tom Thumb and 7-11 hadn’t been invented yet. If you wanted meat on your table for supper, you had to go out and shoot it. Justice was a Colt 45. (Some people would claim it still is.) Things have kind of changed since then. (Kind of.)

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