Thoughts on Heller
I had been anticipating the D.C. v Heller decision for some time. My friend Dr. Joseph Olson was one of the members of Heller's legal team in the oral arguments phase before SCOTUS.
You know some of my background when it comes to the 2nd Amendment (leadership team member for MNCCRN/GOCRA , AACFI Instructor , permit carrier under the former and present statute. I've been instructed by and shot with an Army Ranger, Air Force Intelligence officer, SWAT Sniper, member Delta Force, BCA certified Range Officer [the one responsible for teaching firearm techniques and range certifying police officers ] to name a few).
I'm not going to review the Heller decision. There are many sites that will do that for you (Second Amendment Foundation, the NRA and you can read Justice Scalia's majority opinion).
I am pleased at the Heller decision. I am also concerned. For the first time there is a SCOTUS decision that the 2nd Amendment means what it has always meant. This a significant victory. I won't discount that.The concern: it was a 5-4 decision on a case that absolutely should have been 9-0.
Now, in the late 1780's, as we were still waiting for Marconi to invent radio and Al Gore to get that internet thing up and running, the only available mechanism to broadcast the proposed Constitution was the printing press. To be sure that the citizens understood what the document meant, it was written in plain, common everyday language for the late 18th century. The federalists wrote a series of articles that collected were called the Federalist Papers that explained in detail what the framers meant. The Anti-Federalists were very concerned about this federal government, having just finished fighting the most powerful central government in the world, the British monarchy and Parliament. The Anti-Federalists were responsible for the Bill of Rights to ensure redundancy in the preservation of liberty. The Bill of Rights was also written in the common , everyday 18th Century vernacular so as to absolutely clear about intent and meaning. And with all that, there were four Supreme justices who found a new and completely contrary meaning in those 27 simple and direct words. Justice Breyer wrote :”In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.” Justice Stevens wrote that there was a "settled" precedent regarding the regulation of firearms for militia use. He then wrote:"The Court's announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes (emphasis mine) upsets that settled understanding." A "new" constitutional right. Unlike the old right of habeas corpus for foreign enemy combatants that these four plus Justice Kennedy magically "found" and "announced" this session, that somehow my copy of Constitution doesn't contain.
Justice Scalia wrote about the interest in keeping firearms out the hands of the mentally unstable and felons. And therein lies the fight: how is "mentally unstable" defined? How are they "prevented" from owning or having firearms? How well has gun control kept firearms out of the hands of criminals? The left will never, ever give up. Always remember,evil only compromises to establish the new negotiating point. Evil always wants it all.
As I told a friend of mine last night this a very important decision. But, it is only a single victory for a single battle, albeit an important battle ,as was Gettysburg, in the never ending war the left wages on America, liberty,freedom and good. How the significance of this decision plays out will show itself over the coming decades with state judges and legislatures, the federal judiciary including SCOTUS and Congress.
It bears repeating and certainly remembering: Heller was a 5-4 decision. It hung on a single Justice , Kennedy, who was also the swing vote for the child rape law and the enemy combatant/habeas majority opinions . Plessy v Ferguson established that "separate but equal" as being constitutional was overturned 58 years later by Brown v Board of Education.
Heller can also be overturned.
Some additional thoughts I posted at Hot Air.