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Supreme Court Rules D.C. Handgun Ban Unconstitutional

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The decision was 5-4, and I would have hoped that this wouldn’t be so evenly split because I think most people in this country acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment grants people at least the baseline right to arms themselves. I mean, we’re talking about owning a gun in your home without having to put a trigger lock on it. If that’s not reasonable right, I’m not exactly sure what is.

Here’s the decision…

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “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.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Yes, maybe the framers didn’t intend what the SCOTUS upheld today, but the language in the 2nd Amendment is very loose, and I find it extremely hard to believe that they didn’t intend for every single person to at least have this baseline right. Wouldn’t you want everybody to have access to a firearm just in case you would have to form militias quickly?

So, given that this amendment hasn’t been truly scrutinized by the courts since 1791, I’d hope we can settle on it and move on.

Ahh, but nothing is that easy. McCain is already hammering Obama today on a similar law in Chicago…

“For the first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers,” McCain said in a statement.

He criticized Sen. Barack Obama for not signing a bipartisan amicus brief supporting the ruling later issued by the Supreme Court, and singled out the Chicago ban in describing what the ruling should change.

“Today’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans,” McCain said in the statement.

And you know what…McCain is right. The SCOTUS decision at least puts a bullseye on the Chicago ban, and you can bet that it’ll be up for review very soon.

More as it develops…