Is the Supreme Court ruling on individual gun ownership “dramatic“? Indeed it is, given the route the majority chose.
Here, on page five of the document,
CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ET AL.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT
[June 28, 2010]
we get to the heart of the ruling. It is not the 2nd Amendment itself, but the 14th Amendment, Article 1, which provides the legal buttress for the right to keep and bear arms:
JUSTICE THOMAS agreed that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms that was recognized inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller…fully applicable to the States.
However, he asserted, there is a path to this conclusion that is more straightforward and more faithful to the Second Amendment’s text and history. The Court is correct in describing the Second Amendment right as “fundamental” to the American scheme of ordered liberty, Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 149, and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and traditions,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 721.
But the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which speaks only to “process,” cannot impose the type of substantive restraint on state legislation that the Court asserts. Rather, the right to keep and bear arms is enforceable against the States because it is a privilege of American citizenship recognized by §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides, inter alia: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
In interpreting this language, it is important to recall that constitutional provisions are “ ‘written to be understood by the voters.’..
The objective of this inquiry is to discern what “ordinary citizens” at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification would have understood that Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause to mean…
A survey of contemporary legal authorities plainly shows that, at that time, the ratifying public understood the Clause to protect constitutionally enumerated rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.
The opinions broke along predictable lines – i.e., John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented, calling the “historical evidence…ambiguous”…
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The majority – Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, led by Chief Justice Roberts, were not individually named by the CNN blog report linked above. I don’t understand this omission, given that the dissenters were individually checked off. Is the omission a small but telling point about CNN?
This decision is not the end of it. Perhaps, though, it is the beginning of the end.
Chicago’s strict gun control laws are typical of left wing thinking about the dangers to the public purportedly arising from gun ownership. Chicago persists in this thinking even as illegal gun ownership has made parts of the city prime killing fields for criminals.
The Chicago laws are cynical in the extreme. Note this report, dated in May:
The city’s troubles are so extreme that a pair of state lawmakers are calling on a fellow Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn, to deploy the National Guard to help restore calm. The latest figures show that Chicago had racked up 122 homicides for the year, exceeding the 116 killings over the comparable period in 2009, a very bad year. Among the top 10 U.S. cities, Chicago is within shooting distance of advancing from second place to win the dubious distinction of being the U.S. murder capital. It’s no coincidence that the Windy City is already the U.S. gun-control capital.
Since 1982, Chicago has banned the private ownership of handguns and rifles by requiring a convoluted registration process designed to be impossible to complete. Exceptions to the rules enable politicians and their personal friends to own and even carry handguns – but nobody else. This unconstitutional scheme has been a colossal failure.
Just as the Left is blind to the laws of economics, it is equally resistant to learning from experience when it comes to gun ownership. Not so resistant that it prevents those in power from owning weapons, however. Another example of “laws for thee but not for me” so favored by those in control.
Glenn Reynolds notes:
Very interesting to see both the majority and Justice Thomas reference the racist roots of gun control so strongly…
His observation reminded me of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of blacks in the South who believed in armed self-defense against an entrenched hatred that often led to killings of innocent black people, particularly black men.
The myth of Martin Luther King’s touted “non-violence” as a way to bring about justice steadfastly ignores the reality of King’s armed body guards and the arsenal of weapons kept in his home – kept there illegally, by the way. Dr. King couldn’t get a gun permit.
Given the times, King’s public image as the American Gandhi was probably good strategy; it reassured the fearful white majority and no doubt prevented much bloodshed. However, the armed “Deacons of Defense” were as vital and necessary a part of the struggle as was Dr. King’s approach.
An isolated farm surrounded by the sudden arrival of truckloads of hatred in the middle of the night could change the equation instantly with the judicious application of one shot over the heads of those hate-mongers. It didn’t solve the problem instantly, but it allowed enough time for the troublemakers to sober up. One armed black farmer lived to plow another day.
This part of black history has been neglected; I hope that the coming generations will pay the respect of close attention due these men.
Here’s a reader’s review from that page:
This is truly a lost history of the civil rights movement that author Lance Hill has found under the layers upon layers of mainstream narratives which conveniently dictate false truths that – when repeated enough – become larger than life.
Following the organized self-defense philosophy espoused by Robert F. Williams in Monroe, N.C., a small group of men in Jonesboro, Louisiana, founded an organization that had great influence in the civil rights movement of the mid-1960s. The success the Deacons had in defeating the KKK and other haters on the streets by standing up, moving forward and staring them down with guns loaded brought a new sense of empowerment in demanding that justice truly be served today.
When Chicago’s unconstitutional gun control law is finally swept aside, perhaps part of the hoked-up Leftist narrative about Dr. King will go with it.
One can hope. Let’s wait and see what Mark Steyn has to say about it.