This video from ReasonTV talks about Keeping weapons in your own home.
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Gun Rights on Trial Doherty Reactso to D.C. v. Heller
Today in the case of D.C. v. Heller the Supreme Court for the very first time in U.S. history authoritatively declared that the 2nd Amendment to the constitution does indeed protect an individual right to own weapons for self defense in the home. That right is not necessarily connected to membership in any kind of organized militia gun control forces for decades been arguing that it is not an individual right the Supreme Court has now declared that it is.
What is the significance of this decision?
This decision was a very important victory in the long lasting war over gun control and gun rights but it is by no means the end of the war. The Supreme Court made a valuable and desirable but very limited decision in D.C. v. Heller. The laws that were being challenged in this case were the worst most draconian anti gun laws that this country has every known.
In D.C. since the 1976 it has been completely illegal to have a handgun of any sort and while it’s been illegal to have a rifle or a shotgun you had to keep them disassembled and or unloaded and trigger locked which meant it was never illegal to have a functioning weapon in your home for self defense. The Supreme Court has said that, that will not fly, that kind of law is not legitimate under the second amendment.
However, there are all sorts of other gun control regulations that will continue to be legitimate some of which the Court actually listed in their decision including laws regulating concealed carry, laws regulating the type of people who are permitted to own guns for example a felons are not legally allowed to own guns. That’s still okay under their decision. People who have been institutionalized that’s still okay so they have not gone ahead and said authoritatively what sort of gun control regulations might be vulnerable under their decision except that a complete ban if now off the table.
What will gun control group say?
Gun control groups interestingly enough have been trying to spin the Heller decision as a victory of sorts for them and they’re thinking is pretty interesting. They’re maintaining that for decades the gun rights law be the NRA or other groups of that sort have made their bread and butter on this fear that some day a federal agent was going to come knocking on your door trying to take your guns away and that gun rights people have seen every single gun regulation as just a step on that slippery slope towards a total ban toward total confiscation.
What the Heller decision has done it has taken the ban issue off the table, the Supreme Court has said that states, localities, the federal government might be legally able to regulate gun ownership in many, many ways but one thing they cannot do is completely ban having the use of guns in their homes so with that issue off the table there’s still an enormous amount of room for challenges to all sorts of gun regulations from concealed carry regulations, from regulations affecting gun dealers and we’re definitely going to see tons and tons more lawsuits about gun regulations down the line this is by no means the end of the public policy fight over gun control it’s by no means the end of the legal fight over gun control like with most major supreme court decisions this going to be the beginning of decades of more lawsuits, decades of more legal decisions, decades more debates in a state houses, city counsels across the country.
But the guidance that the Supreme Court has given today is that we do need to remember that we do as Americans have the right to self defense and that guns weapons is as unpleasant as many people find them are often essential tools toward that self defense and self defense is a right not created by the Second Amendment. It’s a right we have inherently as human beings and it’s right that’s protected by the Second Amendment and that’s a very important victory for the cause of gun right and human rights in America.
Does the Second Amendment protect an individual right?
For many, many decades every single federal appeals court except one the fifth circuit has fallen into this pretty unsupportable view that there is no individual right to own weapons that because the word militia is in the second amendment that it only implies to membership in the militia.
There was never any good reason to believe this and if you read justice Skalea’s opinion he really tares it apart piece by piece in a very entertaining way. Sometimes having to say things that you’re amazed that may had to be said in a Supreme Court opinion for example that the word keep as in keep arms means that someone can actually keep a gun in their home strangely enough lots of very bright legal minds have argued otherwise for decades and Skalea finally slot that nonsense down so yeah.
The establishment that there is an individual right even though that right maybe regulatable in many ways that were only going to figure out with future court decisions is a very good base from which to start and if the decision had come down the other way and it was a 5-4 decision it very usually could have that would be the end basically any ban for gun rights basically any locality anywhere could completely eliminate our ability to defend ourselves in the best way possible so absolutely a very good and a vital important decision but not at all the final word in the fight over gun regulation.