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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Antonin Scalia on gun rights

I recently read an article on gun rights in The Atlantic, issue of September 2011, which quoted the following statement, from a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States:
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:  For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. - Justice Antonin Scalia, Dist. of Columbia v. Heller, June 26, 2008. Here is the Court's ruling, written by Scalia, which includes this quotation. The ruling declared a gun law in the District of Columbia to be unconstitutional.

The article in The Atlantic points out that Justice Scalia is not exactly the strict constructionist/originalist that he sometimes sounds like, and is often portrayed to be:
"This paragraph from the pen of Justice Scalia, the foremost proponent of constitutional originalism, was astounding. True, the Founders imposed gun control, but they had no laws resembling Scalia’s list of Second Amendment exceptions. They had no laws banning guns in sensitive places, or laws prohibiting the mentally ill from possessing guns, or laws requiring commercial gun dealers to be licensed. Such restrictions are products of the 20th century. Justice Scalia, in other words, embraced a living Constitution."

Interesting, at least to me. Thanks for reading!


atlibertytosay said...

I don't fire guns (but I've gone to a range ~ once)

I don't have a concealed weapons permit (but I've had one)

I own a gun (but I only get it out to maintain it once or twice a year)

I like to have it for protection (but have yet to EVER even pick it up for such a purpose)

I don't hunt (and probably never will because I don't like to kill much of anything, unless a vermin or bug that is out to cause health or safety problems)

I like that I CAN do all that though.

I personally know felons that have guns. Nothing has stopped them from obtaining them.

I personally know very mentally ill people - diagnosed and on medication - that have guns - because it's not mentally insane and because their spouse is sane ~ they have guns.

I fear, interpretation such as this leads down a slippery path ~ I have always considered the carefully thought out "what if" a plausible argument.

Many who are atheist think Christians are insane for believing in God and Jesus ~ and even heaven & hell. Could we, one day, be declared insane? Could we, one day, be declared "terror-inclined"?

There isn't a whole lot written by the founding fathers on gun rights other than - an unarmed taxpayer/citizen is a weak one when it's government has the funding to be armed infinitely.

George Washington said that guns were the teeth of liberty and freedom.

Rights are rights … if the founding fathers state they are God given … then the Bible (or principals found therein for those that don't believe) should be the interpretation standard.

Clearly, the Bible says "thou shalt not kill", but outlines specific situations and circumstances where this okay.

Martin LaBar said...

The Constitution protects the right to bear arms under some circumstances, and some people have, indeed, used firearms to protect themselves, and they can be used by a populace to overthrow a terrible government -- see Libya.

But the US is, by some measures, the most violent country on earth, and no one can be sure that they won't be shot at random, on any day, most anywhere in the country. Most people who get shot are shot by relatives, sometimes by accident, and sometimes by little kids, or the kid gets shot and killed.

I also wonder what might have been accomplished in Afghanistan, if we had put half as much on infrastructure, appropriate enterprises, education, and agriculture there as we have on military action.

Thanks for your musings, atlibertytosay.