Justices Agree on Right to Own Guns

Budyzir

There's nothing quite like a shorn scrotum.
Nov 12, 2004
7,307
1
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Queens, NY
#1
Justices Agree on Right to Own Guns


Mar 18, 4:55 PM (ET)

By MARK SHERMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans have a right to own guns, Supreme Court justices declared Tuesday in a historic and lively debate that could lead to the most significant interpretation of the Second Amendment since its ratification two centuries ago.

Governments have a right to regulate those firearms, a majority of justices seemed to agree. But there was less apparent agreement on the case they were arguing: whether Washington's ban on handguns goes too far.

The justices dug deeply into arguments on one of the Constitution's most hotly debated provisions as demonstrators shouted slogans outside. Guns are an American right, argued one side. "Guns kill," responded the other.

Inside the court, at the end of a session extended long past the normal one hour, a majority of justices appeared ready to say that Americans have a "right to keep and bear arms" that goes beyond the amendment's reference to service in a militia.

Several justices were openly skeptical that the District of Columbia's 32-year-old handgun ban, perhaps the strictest in the nation, could survive under that reading of the Constitution. "What is reasonable about a total ban on possession?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked.

Walter Dellinger, representing the district, replied that Washington residents could own rifles and shotguns and could use them for protection at home.

"What is reasonable about a total ban on possession is that it's a ban only on the possession of one kind of weapon, of handguns, that's considered especially dangerous," Dellinger said.

Justice Stephen Breyer appeared reluctant to second-guess local officials.
Is it "unreasonable for a city with a very high crime rate ... to say no handguns here?" Breyer asked.

Alan Gura, representing a Washington resident who challenged ban, said, "It's unreasonable and it fails any standard of review."

The court has not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "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 basic issue for the justices is whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

A key justice, Anthony Kennedy, seemed to settle that question early on when he said the Second Amendment gives "a general right to bear arms." He is likely to be joined by Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - a majority of the nine-member court.
Gun rights proponents were encouraged.

"What I heard from the court was the view that the D.C. law, which prohibits good people from having a firearm ... to defend themselves against bad people is not reasonable and unconstitutional," National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said after leaving the court.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said he hoped the court would leave the ban in place and not vote for a compromise that would, for example, allow handguns in homes but not in public places. "More guns anywhere in the District of Columbia is going to lead to more crime. And that is why we stand so steadfastly against any repeal of our handgun ban," the mayor said after attending the arguments.

A decision that defines the amendment's meaning would be significant by itself. But the court also has to decide whether Washington's ban can stand and how to evaluate other gun control laws.

The justices have many options, including upholding a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the ban.

Solicitor General Paul Clement, the Bush administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, supported the individual right but urged the justices not to decide the other question. Instead, Clement said the court should say that governments may impose reasonable restrictions, including federal laws that ban certain types of weapons.

Clement wants the justices to order the appeals court to re-evaluate the Washington law. He did not take a position on it.

This issue has caused division within the administration, with Vice President Dick Cheney taking a harder line than the official position at the court.
In addition to the handgun ban, Washington also has a trigger lock requirement for other guns that raised some concerns Tuesday.

"When you hear somebody crawling in your bedroom window, you can run to your gun, unlock it, load it and then fire?" Justice Antonin Scalia said. Roberts, who has two young children, suggested at one point that trigger locks might be reasonable.

"There is always a risk that the children will get up and grab the firearm and use it for some purpose other than what the Second Amendment was designed to protect," he said.

On the other hand, he, too, wondered about the practical effect of removing a lock in an emergency. "So then you turn on the lamp, you pick up your reading glasses," Roberts said to laughter.

Dellinger said he opened the lock in three seconds, although he conceded that was in daylight.

While the arguments raged inside, dozens of protesters mingled with tourists and waved signs saying "Ban the Washington elitists, not our guns" or "The NRA helps criminals and terrorists buy guns."

Members of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence chanted "guns kill" as followers of the Second Amendment Sisters and Maryland Shall Issue.Org shouted "more guns, less crime."

The City Council that adopted the ban said it was justified because "handguns have no legitimate use in the purely urban environment of the District of Columbia." ( :mad4: )

Dick Anthony Heller, 65, an armed security guard, sued the district after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court.

The last Supreme Court ruling on the topic came in 1939 in U.S. v. Miller, which involved a sawed-off shotgun. Constitutional scholars disagree over what that case means but agree it did not squarely answer the question of individual versus collective rights.

Roberts said at his confirmation hearing that the correct reading of the Second Amendment was "still very much an open issue."
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

Hopefully, as a law abiding citizen, living in New York City, I too may one day own a firearm to defend myself.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
41,806
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#3
ummmm, im sorry but there was no decision made, how long before the written decision? they need to out right declare that the ban in DC is unconstitutional that is the only decision that will be a real victory for any one. i hate there convoluted bullshit
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
5,051
3
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#6
"The NRA helps criminals and terrorists buy guns."
Hey, how come I've never heard of the NRA sponsered "Give the terrorists a gun" drive?

Fucking dumb anti-gunners. The simple fact that they think that if guns are outlawed, criminals will say "hmm, well better use a knife to kill the guy, don't want to break the law about the gun thing" is fucking amazing. Do they pay no attention to how well drug laws have worked to keep drugs out of the population's hands?
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
5,051
3
228
#7
ummmm, im sorry but there was no decision made, how long before the written decision? they need to out right declare that the ban in DC is unconstitutional that is the only decision that will be a real victory for any one. i hate there convoluted bullshit
The report I read on the case said sometime mid to late summer for a decision.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
41,806
9,232
768
#8
Yeah, a total ban on handguns has really done wonders for DC's crime rate. :icon_roll
they admit that the crime rate did not go down, yet insist that the ban must remain in effect..... for the children.....
 

domelogic

Registered User
Feb 16, 2005
11,411
2,818
631
Center Valley, Pa.
#9
i cant believe there is actually a debate about this. for some reason i thought the second amendment was clear. amazingly it always comes down to the criminals get them to easy yet if they banned them everywhere the criminals would still have them.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
41,806
9,232
768
#10
i cant believe there is actually a debate about this. for some reason i thought the second amendment was clear. amazingly it always comes down to the criminals get them to easy yet if they banned them everywhere the criminals would still have them.
well no shit, and while there at it create an entirely new group of criminals (people that would refuse to give there guns up) it would open the flood gates of a new black market
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
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Dallas
#12
well no shit, and while there at it create an entirely new group of criminals (people that would refuse to give there guns up) it would open the flood gates of a new black market
No way dude... That wouldn't happen! Prohibition works! We've proven that if you throw enough money at a problem and take away the rights of responsible people you can accomplish anything!

Oh wait...
 

Sprite

permanent case of the Moooondays
Apr 27, 2005
3,834
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Jersey
#13
I think I saw this in a post or someone's sig on this board....

"An armed society is a polite society."
 

MonkeyTits

Registered User
Jun 20, 2005
1,035
0
0
#14
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

Hopefully, as a law abiding citizen, living in New York City, I too may one day own a firearm to defend myself.
Link?

By the way, it's 10:45pm, March 18th, and both cnn.com and foxnews.com are still carrying articles on this subject from this morning, as if no decision has been reached.

Interesting, methinks.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
78,491
27,315
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Seattle
#15
Link?

By the way, it's 10:45pm, March 18th, and both cnn.com and foxnews.com are still carrying articles on this subject from this morning, as if no decision has been reached.

Interesting, methinks.
Officially, it hasn't. No decision is final until the written decision, which will come by the end of June.

Despite this, very encouraging.
 

CougarHunter

Lying causes cat piss smell.
Mar 2, 2006
10,570
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KC Metro
#16
Ban criminals and terrorists. Better yet, put me out of a job and just put a bounty on their scalps.
 
Jul 13, 2006
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#17
Link?

By the way, it's 10:45pm, March 18th, and both cnn.com and foxnews.com are still carrying articles on this subject from this morning, as if no decision has been reached.

Interesting, methinks.
Because there has been no decision made and there won't be one until June most likely. It's a major issue and it will take a while because it's a tad bit more important than the FCC "indecency" decision considering it's dealing with one of our original Amendments.

Unfortunately they will probably still want to band sawed-off shotguns, "AOWs" (suppressors/pistols with foregrips), and automatics. I don't expect anything good from the deicison.

About the most they will go will be getting rid of weapons bans to an extent that cities can still require permitting which they can refuse. Just as long as there is a "chance" to have pistols.

I'd wish that they'd have the balls to clear everything out and allow all weapons but I don't think it will happen after hearing a few justices asking about if the attorneys for the plaintiff if they thought restrictions on automatics and sawed-offs would be appropriate and he conceded.
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
46,674
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F.U.B.A.R
#18
"shall NOT infringe..."

Me thinks that "permits" and other "restrictions" are an infringement.
 

Vyce

Light-skinned, with no Negro dialect.
Feb 11, 2006
8,171
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Washington D.C.
#21
The early news does seem somewhat encouraging, in the sense that it looks like this will be a blow for the anti-gun crowd, i.e. it appears that the Court will finally rule that the 2nd amendment applies to INDIVIDUAL gun ownership rights - not this bullshit that some in the anti-gun movement have tried to peddle that the Constitution should be interpreted strictly so that only militias could bear them.

However, I still have much cause for concern. I'm afraid that we might get a compromised verdict - the Court will uphold individual gun ownership, but at the same time uphold the D.C. gun ban, arguing that cities have a right to make restrictions on firearms based upon the circumstances (i.e. have a bad crime problem? Well, feel free to ban firearms then). Which could result in little change whatsoever, meaning that some cities could still permit access to firearms, others might be allowed to totally restrict them.

I'd be okay with the Court holding that restrictions are allowable provided that they're reasonable - and simultaneously holding that D.C.'s strict ban on firearms goes too far and would be considered UNreasonable. I can live with restrictions, because I'm a law-abiding member of society, and furthermore, I don't even OWN a gun and am not really sure if I truly want to. However, I don't want my city, wherever I live, to be allowed to totally ban my access to firearms for no other reason than "we've got a high crime rate and don't think it's a good idea". So long as a person clears all necessary background checks, isn't a formerly convicted felon, and goes through all of the proper procedures of licensing and registration, they should be allowed to own a firearm - period.
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
17,843
5,188
838
Wilmington, NC
#22
amazingly it always comes down to the criminals get them to easy yet if they banned them everywhere the criminals would still have them.
And then you've got a situation where the criminals can illegally obtain guns, yet law abiding citizens who want to defend themselves from these criminals cannot defend themselves. That's quite a problem there.
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
46,674
6,860
693
F.U.B.A.R
#23
So long as a person clears all necessary background checks, isn't a formerly convicted felon, and goes through all of the proper procedures of licensing and registration, they should be allowed to own a firearm - period.
With all due respect...go fuck a duck with your restrictions. :mad4:
 

distortion9

Satellite Of Hate
Dec 12, 2001
4,925
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NY
#24
Guys, we need to be thinking of this as a first step. We're not going to get back everything we have lost in the last 70 years in one fell swoop.

Don't know if you noticed but, the more liberal judges were peppering Gura with questions about "machine guns"...these were land mine questions and he was smart enough not to bite. We would have looked like lunatics in todays papers if he demanded that restrictions be lifted off of full auto weapons. Not the time or place.

Getting 2A recognized as an individual right will be huge...it will allow us to fight many other battles in the future.

Even if they say that "reasonable restrictions" are allowed, every existing restriction could be questioned and challenged.
 

Goober

AKA Eqyptian Teabag the Friendly Arab
Sep 1, 2005
4,791
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Washington, D.C.
#25
The decision will be useless to me if I can not carry a gun around DC. Most of the trouble occurs out on the mean streets.