Being careful what he wishes for…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has, over the past few days, been listening to the oral arguements given in DC vs. Heller. He’s also been reading the commentary from leading sites on the proceedings before the high court. The best and most interesting one (in a small digestible portion) is Randy Barnett’s.

As longtime readers know, your Maximum Leader has long believed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was an individual right. The reasons for this are contextual (in that the Bill of Rights is mostly concerned with the rights of individuals - and thus it stands to reason that the Second Amendment would also be an individual right), grammatical (how does one interpret those damned commas? Here is how…), as well as his understanding of the arguements put forth about the Amendment at the time of the Constitution’s ratification.

Anyhooo…

Your Maximum Leader, like so many gun nuts, has been aching for the high court to take a stand on the individual/collective right to keep and bear arms. Now, like so many gun nuts - of which he proudly counts himself in that number, he is going to have to lay in the bed he’s made up.

Far from believing that any particular finding in Heller is going to be “the final word” on this subject; your Maximum Leader is now wondering just how the gun control debate will change. Let it be known that your Maximum Leader is 75% confident that at least 5 justices on the court will find for the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right. It is possible that even 6 justices might find so. He further thinks that the DC gun ban will be struck down. But that is pretty much the extent of it. DC will, your Maximum Leader thinks, be able to tweak their gun ban and reinstate it in an acceptable form. (Probably registered handguns, with lengthy waiting periods and background checks, and trigger locks.) But he isn’t sure that an individual rights interpretation will do much to end - or even change the direction - of the gun control debate in the US. For the most part all individual rights are subject to some sort of “reasonable” restriction. Those restrictions are going to be fought about in court and legislatures. Unfortunately, more fighting will be done in courts than in legislatures.

Indeed, your Maximum Leader fears that this is one more issue that our elected representatives will be able to pawn off on the courts. They will likely want to wait to see how current laws are challenged before trying anything new. This can be a blessing to gun owners - in that new federal regulations are unlikely. (NB: They were unlikely before the Heller case, but are even less likely if the court holds for the individual right.) But by leaving the matter up to the courts, gun owners should be wary. Different circuits will have different holdings, and the whole pond of gun rights will get muddy very quickly.

So, if the case goes the way your Maximum Leader hopes it will, the news could be generally good. But there could be a gray lining to the silver cloud…

Carry on.

1 Comment »
Huck Foley, non-gun-owning gun nut said:

Huck sez:
Is self defense a right?
…yes.
Do gun-wielding threats to Huck’s personal safety exist?
…yes.
Then Huck requires parity, or the right is meaningless in practical terms!
… whuh?
I SAID … oh never mind.
Huck also sez:
There’s perfectly sensible reasons why Huck personally doesn’t own a gun, but Huck would be happier if EVERYBODY around him, with very few exceptions, had privately-owned guns on them, at all times. Huck might be crazy, but is not kidding.
Now Huck worries … will Huck be speaking in 3rd person for the rest of the evening?



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