2008: The Year of the Second Amendment?

OK–perhaps the title is a bit overly dramatic, but District of Columbia v. Heller gives me reason for optimism. Without wanting to count my chickens before they hatch, I have some confidence that the Supreme Court will indeed find that the Second Amendment means what it says, and that the government cannot ban gun ownership.

I base that confidence on a number of factors (one of which being the growing shrillness on the part of the citizen disarmament advocates), but perhaps the most important of them is the fact that even Constitutional scholars who have little enthusiasm for gun rights (Benjamin Wittes comes to mind–also here) are finding themselves unable to sustain the rhetorical gymnastics required to plausibly argue a “collective right” interpretation of the Second Amendment, and are now stuck with having to propose that we “repeal the damn thing.”

I should also be clear that even a “victory” in the Supreme Court would come nowhere close to being an end to the scourge of restrictive gun laws. I do not doubt that the scope of the finding will be quite limited, leaving plenty of room for “reasonable restrictions”–“shall not be infringed” notwithstanding.

Furthermore, I would be quite (pleasantly) surprised if the Heller decision calls for incorporation of the Second Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment. Fighting restrictive gun laws on the state and local levels will still be necessary, and in many cases, the fights will be tough.

Still, a positive outcome in the Supreme Court would be a huge boost for rights, and would be enough to make 2008 a very good year indeed.


4 Responses to “2008: The Year of the Second Amendment?”

  1. Wendy Weinbaum Says:

    The “Supremes” have already ruled that you cannot levy a tax or fee on a RIGHT. Remember Poll Taxes? So, Concealed Carry must be FREE. As a Jewess in the US, I say all REAL Americans must put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!!!

  2. hairy hobbit Says:

    This could indeed get interesting…affirm the individual preexisting right guaranteed by the constitution…revisit Miller…strike down the ’86 ban on new machine guns AND the tax on them.

    Maybe I’ll just hold my breath on the last few of those.

  3. 45superman Says:

    Yeah–those last few will probably take some more time and work–but a favorable SCOTUS ruling might put those on the table, at least.

    Wendy, thanks for commenting–I agree a gazillion percent.

  4. Mark Solomon Says:

    As the only other Jew – it’s you and I Wendy! – who believes in gun ownership, I unfortunately think the SCOTUS will give us both a ruling affirming the 2nd amendment as an individual right while restricting it beyond recognition as a right at all.

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