Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Happiness is a Warm Gun

The Supreme Court, by way of Justice Scalia, says the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun to some extent. What extent? That’s a damn good question. And there’s only one way to find out: more lawsuits! There’s apparently been one already filed in Chicago to see if the ban extends beyond Washington D.C.

The ABA Journal has a very well-written article on the topic. The case turns, as ever, on the very specific language of the Second Amendment:

“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.”

According to Scalia, it’s properly translated (from Ye Olde 18th Centurie Englishe) to:

“Because a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

On the face of it, I would assume that because a well-regulated militia is not, in fact, necessary to the security of a free state any more, neither is the right to keep and bear arms so inviolable these days. But I haven’t taken constitutional law yet: maybe it’s well-established precedent that the part about a militia isn’t all that important.

The court makes it sound like this right extends only as far as law abiding citizens possessing handguns within their home, for the purpose of defending that home. The court also hinted that a ban on “dangerous or unusual” firearms may still be constitutional. Although in reality, I have to assume that if your handgun isn’t dangerous, that’s a little unusual; you should get your money back.

On a somber note, it’s a pity that Charleton isn’t around to see this. He’s shooting angels in heaven right now.