Thursday, June 26, 2008

2nd Amendment Lives

“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.”

How disturbing is it that the Supreme Court was one vote away from taking away one of our constitutional rights? Only 5 out of the 9 justices agreed that the 2nd Amendment means what it says and declared the D.C. gun ban to be unconstitutional.

Justice Scalia wrote for the majority that they take “seriously the concerns raised by the amici who believe that prohibition handgun ownership is a solution” to gun violence. However, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

From National Review Online: "Some have alleged that this ruling is merely judicial activism from the right. Judicial activism, however, entails going beyond what’s in the Constitution — 'finding' new rights, or stretching words past their plain meaning."

It is the Supreme Court's responsibility to decide on the constitutionality of a law or policy, not whether the policy is a good one or a bad one (although one could argue that there is not a shred of evidence that gun control laws in D.C. lowered crime rates). The Bill of Rights says "the people" have the right to keep and bear arms. Therefore, government can't take away this right no matter how strongly they feel about the relationship between gun ownership by law abiding citizens and gun crimes.

The Supreme Court did not say that there shouldn't be reasonable restrictions on this right. Felons and the mentally ill can be denied this right. The 2nd Amendment probably does not include the right to a surface-to-air missile. However, the individual right to own a firearm "shall not be infringed."

No comments: