Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shaky times for gun owners

The New York Sun reported yesterday on the court case surrounding DC's handgun ban, one of the strictest in the nation (essentially the same as the San Francisco Ban, which is to say total). They note that the supreme court is likely to take the case because only two circuit courts, DC's and the one in New Orleans, have held that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right and not a collective right governing militias (in this case the National Guard). This is what I've always maintained: that the 2nd amendment refers to an individual right.

But the DC case interests me not only because it may be possible for this court to finally acknowledge that the 2nd amendment protects individual rights, thereby correcting a long history of misinterpretation, but because of DC's secondary position. DC insists that even if the 2nd amendment is an individual right they still have the right to regulate handguns because only long guns are protected under the 2nd amendment. I believe their argument is that the word "militia" in the 2nd amendment means that it only protects military small arms. Handguns, while they are carried by officers in the military, are not militia weapons. This is the position that I've always held. Although I wish the 2nd amendment protected handgun ownership it really doesn't in my view. However, it does protect ownership of military assault weapons. I'm not sure DC really wants to go there.


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