March 19, 2008
Our Supreme Moment
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
This week the Supreme decides whether we can have guns or not. For the first time since 1934, the Highest Court is going to rule on whether Article II of the Bill of Rights allows individuals to keep and bear arms, or whether only well-regulated militias can keep and bear them, or whether only Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) can keep and bear them.
The case itself is a challenge to Washington D.C.'s draconian gun control law, which can best be described as a raging failure. Congresspersons, high-level government functionaries, Supreme Court Justices, and ranking media figures do not get held up or murdered an awful lot. Ordinary people in D.C., however, have good reason to fear.
The D.C. law is being challenged as unconstitutional. If the Supremes find it so, we are told, we can all rush out and buy MP-5s. If they find for the District of Columbia, we are warned that assorted jackbooted thugs will immediately begin kicking in doors, frightening old people into heart attacks, stomping on kittens and puppies, and taking every gun they can lay their hands on, legal or not.
Except, that we are talking about THE LAW here, and nothing about THE LAW is ever clear, simple, and unambiguous. However it finds, the Supreme Court will then have to delineate some kind of guidelines on how far the individual's right extends, and on how far the government may go in enforcing controls on guns. This is where the real nut-cutting will take place.
If our side wins (whatever a "win" is), that does not mean we can assume that the long nightmare is over. Sarah Brady, et al, will never quit and never go away.
But if the DC law prevails, I would not rush out in the dark of night to bury my firearms. The Feds have equipment that can overfly a chunk of real estate and find a hairpin buried 50 feet deep. Or so I am told.