Gun owners earned a monumental victory today, as the US Supreme Court finally declared that the right to keep and bear arms is vested in the individual for self-defense purposes. In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines, Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts, ruled that the Washington DC law banning the possession and use of handguns in the home and mandating that rifles and shotguns be unloaded and disassembled while stored in the home was unconstitutional.
The penultimate debate of whether the 2nd Amendment only applied to those in an organized militia or whether all Americans enjoyed it is at a conclusive end. In a riveting 64-page opinion, Justice Scalia analyzed the linguistic meanings of the amendment and the historical context in which it was originally written, debated, passed, and applied prior to the 20th century. Coincidentally, Pennsylvanians can take pride in knowing that the PA Constitution and other PA laws played a pivotal role in this decision as Scalia used our own Bill of Rights as one of the foundations of his analysis.
So, what affect does this have on you?
For starters, you can now be secure in the belief that the government is not permitted to ever completely ban the possession or use of all firearms. Liberals will never be allowed to fully clean out your gun cabinet.
Second, the government can not ever tell you that you must keep your guns locked up, disassembled, or have a trigger lock on it in your own home.
Third, unless you are a felon or are mentally ill, the government MUST register your firearm and issue you a license to possess it.
Now, this decision does have a few exceptions. The government may still prohibit the carry of firearms in sensitive places such as schools or government buildings. They may also still regulate the conditions and qualifications of the sale of guns.
Although, one particular area has been left up in the air for future litigation: the possession and use of dangerous and unusual weapons. Scalia did say that the government maintains an important interest in telling its citizens that it may not have unusual weapons like grenade launchers and Gatling guns, but he outlined a canned argument advocating for the allowance of M-16’s and other “assault weapons”. Undoubtedly, this will be one of the key issues in future litigation.
So, rejoice America! You are vested with an individual right to own a gun. The good guys have won for a change. Enjoy it while it lasts!