“The majority of the Supreme Court appeared ready on Tuesday to embrace, for the first time in the country’s history, an interpretation of the Second Amendment that protects the right to own a gun for personal use.” __
There’s an attention getter. But it’s far from the only interesting section of today’s New York Times report on the case that is challenging the constitutionality of the District of Columbia’s handgun ban.
However, in an attempt to break my Times addiction, I’m instead linking to this Washington Post article on the current argument, along with some interesting dialogue excerpts also on the paper’s site.
The historic nature of the discussion (the last major Supreme Court ruling on the subject was handed down in 1939) seemed to be front and center in numerous comments from justices and lawyers alike, who sparred on the intentions of the Constitution’s framers.
Just as a refresher, the Second Amendment states (all together now), 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.
Walter E. Dellinger III, who argued for the District of Columbia, reportedly said, “The amendment’s first clause confirms that the right is militia-related.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had a different take, reportedly asking, “If it is limited to state militias, why would they say, ‘the right of the people?'”
Given all the opposing views, there seemed to be at least some agreement on that point that, even in the event that the right of the individual gun owner was recognized, some manner of limitation would still be called for.
How closely are you following the case (at the extreme end of the spectrum, a 23-year-old Lancaster man arrived at the Supreme Court Sunday night and camped out on the sidewalk to be first in line to hear yesterday’s arguments)? And even if you don’t happen to be a Constitutional scholar (again, I’m playing Devil’s advocate, here), what do you have to say about the Founding Fathers’ intentions? -K.H