Gun Shy

Four Supreme Court justices make the case against constitutional rights.

On Monday the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies to states and cities as well as the federal government. Judging from their objections, the four dissenters were still reeling from the Court's landmark 2008 decision recognizing that the amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

In their dissenting opinions, Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer (joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) worry that overturning gun control laws undermines democracy. If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

What if the people want to ban books that offend them, establish an official church, or authorize police to conduct warrantless searches at will? Those options are also foreclosed by constitutional provisions that apply to the states by way of the 14th Amendment. The crucial difference between a pure democracy and a constitutional democracy like ours is that sometimes the majority does not decide.

Likewise, Stevens defends "state and local legislatures' right to experiment," while Breyer is loath to interfere with "the ability of States to reflect local preferences and conditions—both key virtues of federalism." Coming from justices who think Congress can disregard state decisions about the medical use of marijuana because a plant on the windowsill of a cancer patient qualifies as interstate commerce, this sudden concern about federalism is hard to take seriously.

Another reason to doubt the dissenters' sincerity: They would never accept federalism as a rationale for letting states "experiment" with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or due process protections. Much of their job, as they themselves see it, involves overriding "local preferences" that give short shrift to constitutional rights.

Second Amendment rights are different, Breyer says, because "determining the constitutionality of a particular state gun law requires finding answers to complex empirically based questions." So does weighing the claims in favor of banning child pornography or depictions of animal cruelty, relaxing the Miranda rule, admitting illegally obtained evidence, or allowing warrantless pat-downs, dog sniffs, or infrared surveillance.

When they decide whether a law or practice violates a constitutional right, courts cannot avoid empirical questions. In cases involving racial discrimination or content-based speech restrictions, for example, they ask whether the challenged law is "narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest" and is the "least restrictive means" of doing so.

But unlike equal protection or freedom of speech, Stevens says, "firearms have a fundamentally ambivalent relationship to liberty." How so? "Just as they can help homeowners defend their families and property from intruders," he explains, "they can help thugs and insurrectionists murder innocent victims."

Every right can be abused, with results that are immoral, illegal, or both. Freedom of speech can be used to spread hateful ideas, promote pernicious political philosophies, slander the innocent, or engage in criminal conspiracies. If there were no potential for harm from exercising a right, there would be no need to protect it, because no one would try to restrict it.

The dissenters' most frivolous objection is that making states obey the Second Amendment "invites an avalanche of litigation," as Stevens puts it. Every day we hear about cases in which people argue that the government has violated their rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Eighth amendment. Neither Stevens nor Breyer wants to stop this "avalanche." Only when the Second Amendment is added to the mix do they recoil in horror at the prospect that Americans will use the courts to vindicate their rights.

Stevens warns that "the practical significance of the proposition that 'the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States' remains to be worked out by this Court over many, many years." But that's because the Court for many, many years ignored the Second Amendment while gradually defining the contours of its neighbors in the Bill of Rights. There is a lot of catching up to do.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2010 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Join Jacob Sullum, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and Ron Bailey on Reason’s weeklong Caribbean cruise in February 2011. Sign up today

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Suki||

    Good morning reason!

    Money quote:


    Coming from justices who think Congress can disregard state decisions about the medical use of marijuana because a plant on the windowsill of a cancer patient qualifies as interstate commerce, this sudden concern about federalism is hard to take seriously.
  • PIRS||

    Good morning Suki!

    Concern from almost all politicians on anything is hard to take seriously. All they care about is their own power.

  • Suki||

    joh-eun achim Pirs!

    You mean judges are not separate from the politicians like they keep telling us? I am shattered.

  • Untermensch||

    Guten Abend, Suki. Herzlich Grüßen aus China.

  • Suki||

    Wow! That is so awesome! Where are you in China?

  • PIRS||

    Buenos días, Untermensch. Un cordial saludo desde la Florida

  • Suki||

    PIRS, I had no idea you spoke perfect Floridian! ;)

  • PIRS||

    Suki, yo aprendo español, pero I am nowhere near perfect yet.

    Many people in Florida speak a code-switching language called Spanglish.

    There are bumper-stickers that read:

    Honk si tú hablar spanglish

  • Old Mexican||

    Honk si tú hablar spanglish

    Me lleva la chingada . . .

  • PIRS||

    Old Mexican, are you actually from Mexico? I mean are you a native Spanish speaker? If so, do you have an opinion on Spanglish? I know some do not like it. I know a Real Academia de la Lengua Española does not. What do you think?

    Thanks

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The difference? All of those other rights that the Constitution protects individuals against assault from "the people"? Those rights aren't icky like guns.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    "But we don't want to protect your rights, only the rights of the federal government that hired us and pays us..."

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    In their dissenting opinions, Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer (joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) worry that overturning gun control laws undermines democracy. If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

    Indeed, the 14th Amendment exists because a numerical majority had kept their jack boots on the necks of a minority of people.

    If the majority wanted to reinstitute slavery through legislation, would Sotomayor (whose vote in this case makes her defense of an individual 2nd Amendment right in her conformation hearings, under oath, a lie) support the will of the People?

    Hardly.

  • ||

    What's perfectly obvious to us common folk is not so obvious to educated lawyers and community organizers. We have a problem with language. When the writing on an arcane piece of parchment--the writing of "dead white guys," by the way-- says, "Congress shall make no law," what did they really mean? "No" law? That's silly. Times have changed. Men have changed. We no longer wear knee britches and powdered wigs. Besides, some of those guys owned slaves! This fact alone nullifies everything else they ever said or wrote.

  • Hate Potion Number Nine||

    Yeah, not believing the sincerity of slave owners when they talk about inalienable rights of humanity. Who'da thunk it?

  • Mike||

    I think it was pretty clear they didn't regard them as human. Ergo, the logic was fine.

    We keep dogs in pounds and slaughter cattle for food -- does that invalidate anything ever written about rights?

    Once everyone pulled their collective heads out of their asses and realized that blacks were people, everything else follows pretty easily. Remember that for a long time there was scientific proof(!) that black people were really closer to apes than they were to white men.

  • slutmonkey||

    agreed---I always use the example that we use monkeys for medical research, since monkeys are likely at least semi-sentient, our current treatment of them is a lot closer to the general view of slaves in the 18th century.

  • Al Gore||

    Remember that for a long time there was scientific proof(!) consensus that black people were really closer to apes than they were to white men.

    Fixed.

  • Suki||

    So now you decide to be a good poodle!

  • Mad Max||

    'Once everyone pulled their collective heads out of their asses and realized that blacks were people, everything else follows pretty easily.'

    Fortunately, there is no contemporary issue where Americans suffer from any kind of moral blindness about the rights about a category of human beings. ؟

    It's a good thing our descendants won't be looking down their noses at *us* and calling us hypocrites whose views may safely be ignored, because we were willing to deny entire categories of human beings their human rights. ؟

  • Apogee||

    HP#9 - not big in the 'readin' department, are you?

  • ||

    Didn't we use federal troops back in the sixties (when I had hair) against the people of Mississippi, Alabama, etc. who wanted to experiment with creative interpretations of due process? Like..."somebody's got to pay for this murder and you're the only colored guy around".

  • Suki||

    What about if "the people" want literacy tests for voting? Is that one coming back?

  • slutmonkey||

    I'm only against that in principle. In practice it sounds nice.

  • ||

    I would strongly support literacy tests for voting. IMO, that would fix a lot of the problems in this country. To bad it was used for racist purposes in the past.

    I would alos support going back to only property owners voting.

  • ||

    In addition to literacy tests, a picture ID requirement, since I need a picture ID to buy cigarettes, alcohol, cell phones, plane ticket, bus ticket, prescriptions, lottery tickets, computer duster, lighters, ....

  • High School Dropout||

    Yes, the meritocracy we live in now is working very well for us.

  • Mad Max||

    'back in the sixties (when I had hair)'

    When was the last time a Baby Boomer was referred to as a "longhair"?

  • mr simple||

    Nice summary, Jacob.

    When Alito and Thomas get things wrong it seems to me like they believe the crap they spew, contradictions and all. Everything I've read about the dissenters in this case seems completely disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. I'm not sure which is worse.

  • ||

    Better to be wrong and believe you're right than simply be a liar with an agenda.

  • Buck Farack||

    +12

  • slutmonkey||

    This. If someone is honest, but misguided then there's a chance you can correct their view with facts and reason. If someone continues to press for something they KNOW is wrong, there's nothing you can do to change their mind.

    I think this is why so many libertarians vote Republican more than Democrat. Both parties are wrong, but at least the Republicans seem to be honestly wrong.

  • ||

    Sooo right, especially when it comes to things such as the drug war, ag subsidies, and in some cases medicare and social security

  • Fatty Bolger||

    No question about it. Also, somebody who is honestly wrong can be swayed by argument. The disengenuous liar cannot.

  • Horde_4_Lyfe||

    Good read Sullum.

    "Another reason to doubt the dissenters' sincerity: They would never accept federalism as a rationale for letting states "experiment" with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or due process protections. Much of their job, as they themselves see it, involves overriding "local preferences" that give short shrift to constitutional rights."

    Classic.

  • Scott66||

    I think that statement gives these judges too much credit. They are narrow idealogues and would limit free speech if it promoted their beliefs.

    The statement would be better as:
    They would never accept federalism as a rationale for letting states "experiment" with a woman's right to abortions.

  • Mad Max||

    Quit hijacking this thread, you fanatic!

  • ||

    It's a shame that so many people regard Supreme Court justices with such great awe. The justices plainly are just another set of politicians who are trying to impose their personal preferences on everybody else, whatever soothing words they use during their confirmation "hearings".

  • PIRS||

    I understand your point, and it is a valid one. However, their only powers are to end a law or try a case. They cannot create a new law on their own.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "They cannot create a new law on their own."

    They can (and have) effectively done so by juducial fiat.

    That's where the phrase "legislating from the bench" comes from.

  • PIRS||

    Restricting the powers of government is not the same as "legislating". Some "social conservatives" do not understand this difference but I do.

  • JoshINHB||

    How exactly were the cases where courts seized control of school districts, complete with setting taxation levels from the bench, an example of Restricting the powers of government .

  • PIRS||

    "complete with setting taxation levels "

    Can you provide an example where taxation levels were set by a Federal Court in the United States of America?

  • ||

    Kansas City Missouri comes pretty close.

  • PIRS||

    I don't have enough information about this to comment. Could you provide a link?

    Thanks

  • ||

    PIRS!

    I can't speak for Judge Crater, but I am pretty sure he is referring to a situation where Kansas City found its school system under the complete control of a local federal judge in the late 1980s. Under court order, the Kansas City Metropolitan School District increased teacher pay, lowered the student-teacher ratio to 12 or 13:1, (the lowest in the country), built elaborate new school facilities (a zoo, media labs, etc), and purchased new books and class materials. Student achievement remained stagnant. It is the easy and clear response to anyone who insists that "we don't know that throwing money at school underachivement won't work because we haven't tried it." As it happens, we have; small scale local experiments: another blessing of a federal system. You can read a serious report here: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html

  • West Texas Boy||

    No, you apparently don't.

  • ||

    as in Roe v. Wade. The court did, by fiat, create a law protecting abortion. Then when a group of people(a state) vote to make it illegal(abortion) those who disagree go to the court and have the no abortion rule of the state voted on by the citizens of that state overturned as unconstitutional. Hence the court made a "law" legislating from the bench.

  • PIRS||

    Again, that is the removal of a law, not the creation of one. If I knock a house down that is not the same as building a new house. Do you understand?

  • ||

    The right to an abortion is the prevailing "law" of the land. Prior to Roe abortion was illegal in Texas. After Roe it was LEGAL, hence a law was created by judicial fiat. So yes, they did end a law, however, the decision in Roe was not one of ending a law but rather creating a "law" based on the right of privacy(9th and 14th Amendments). The law against abortion, created by the elected representatives of Texas, was overturned. Were the people of Texas allowed then to vote wether they believed abortion should be legal in their state? No, they were not. Therefore, their rights were also violated by this decision. So in the understanding of society today the right to an abortion is a LAW, which was created by the Court.

  • PIRS||

    It removed several laws. What law did it create? None. No new laws are on the books as a result. Only a lack of laws.

  • ||

    Here is an example of new laws due to the judicial fiat of Roe v. Wade.

    http://law.findlaw.com/state-laws/abortion/texas/

  • Mike||

    I'm pretty sure that laws can't make things legal, they can only make them illegal. The default state for all actions is legal until made otherwise.

  • JoshINHB||

    WRT Roe v Wade
    PIRS-"It removed several laws. What law did it create? None"

    That would be the case, if they had stuck down prohibitions against abortion.

    They did quite a bit more than that, with the invention of the trimester based regulatory framework.

    You know, inventing new legal ideas to balance conflicting claims, resulting in a compromise that is unsatisfactory to extremists on both sides.

    Which by the way is the essence of legislating.

  • ||

    Jon...Roe did not "create" a new law, it merely recognized a legal right, one which should not have been abridged by the existing laws of Texas and some of the other states at the time. Your argument is actually the same argument adopted by the liberal wing of the court in this case...i.e. that the people of Chicago should have a right to vote on whether individual ownership or possession of handguns should be illegal. Fortunately, we do not live in a democratic state where every decision regarding legislation and/or individual rights is left to the whim of "the people". Rather, we live in a Constitutional democratic republic, where our rights are guaranteed to be protected against intrusion by the state, and where the whims of a simple majority cannot necessarily be imposed upon the minority.

  • ||

    But in the congressional/executive dynamic, the removal of a law is the same as the creation of a new one, in that a bill must be written and approved by both houses and signed by the President. I well remember the cognitive dissonance I felt, when I realized that, to rescind the authorization for use of force in the middle east, the congress couldn't just say, "game over, man." They would need to pass a law rescinding the executive's use of force and (absent the required supermajority to override a veto), hope that the President would go along with it. It boggled my mind for a moment or so, to think that the Congress could say, "we won't let you make war anymore," but the President could say, "I won't let you not let me!"

  • slutmonkey||

    Mike is right.
    When you say congress must pass a law to recind a law you're conflating laws with bills. As Mike said laws can only make things illegal because everything else is legal by default.

    A bill on the other hand is a change to the law. In other words, the least confusing way to look at it is to say Congress doesn't pass laws, it passes CHANGES to the law. Law always restricts, but a bill can change or remove parts of a law to remove restrictions.

  • slutmonkey||

    As for this Judicial Fiat law, jurisprudence only affects the ability of legislature to make laws. In a way it's a law (because it restricts something) but really it's not a law because the only thing judges can restrict is the ability of the law makers to make certain laws.

    Restricting the restrictors is a double negative which brings us back to: judges can give us give us our freedoms back if the legislature wrongly takes them away, but judges can't create new laws (restrictions on us).

  • ||

    I would say that affirmative action based on statistical "proof" of discrimination and the modern worship of "diversity" are examples of laws created by judicial fiat.

  • Paul||

    Restricting the powers of government is not the same as "legislating". Some "social conservatives" do not understand this difference but I do.

    PIRS, you're taking too narrow a view. If the SCOTUS expands the power of government by limiting a constitutional right, it can have the defacto effect of creating new law.

    See Kelo.

    If states and locales were largely reluctant or more careful to take private property and hand it to another well-connected private interest, after Kelo there was plenty of evidence that the floodgates opened. The Kelo decision essentially turned a red light to a green one.

  • ||

    They can pick and choose among cases on which they grant certiorari, allowing them to try cases from which they can (de facto) create new law on their own.

  • PIRS||

    If I repeal a law how is this the same as creating a law?

  • JoshINHB||

    Which law was repealed when SCOTUS created the text of the Miranda warning?

  • PIRS||

    The Miranda case was a unique situation. However, it does restrict the power of government. It makes sure (in theory) that a suspect understands his or her rights under the law.

  • ||

    Also, Miranda did not create any law, only affirmed and clarified a legal right. There is no statute or law requiring the reading of a specific text, other than the individual procedure of a policing agency. The Miranda decision merely required that the police make certain that a citizen accused be made aware of their rights (to remain silent, to legal counsel, etc.).

  • ||

    There was a little more to it than that. What followed (or was expanded) was "the exclusionary rule" which requires courts to exclude from consideration of guilt or innocence any evidence obtained in the absence of proof that an accused person had provided the evidence (like a confession) in full knowledge of certain of his due process rights (no self-incrimination, legal representation, etc.). We are on to hair-splitting, since it is a "rule" and not a "law," but it feels right at home in a skein that has a lot to do with semantics.

  • JoshINHB||

    The exclusionary rule btw led to cops testilying. An outcome that libertarians should not endorse.

  • ||

    @PIRS: This might be a semantic argument, but courts create law all the time. Legislation is only one source of law. The decisions that courts make is another source--it's called case law. In this sense, yes, they can create new law on their own. (What's up with the indentation failure on this site, anyway?)

  • Suki||

    I usually regard them with aw, followed by a pout.

  • Paul||

    It's a shame that so many people regard Supreme Court justices with such great awe. The justices plainly are just another set of politicians who are trying to impose their personal preferences on everybody else,

    It has been said that if we accept the constitution as a "living document" then constitutional law and civil rights becomes another political racket that has to maintain a constituency.

  • ||

    Has Reason tried to get an interview with the nominee, or even any of the SCOTUS members?

    Could be fun.

  • cynical||

    'If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.'

    The people's representatives don't necessarily represent, nor are they necessarily honestly elected. Elections are legally binding, armed revolt is physically binding -- you can't be a tyrant when you're dead.

    (Speaking of revolt, while I agree that gun ownership is an individual right, the right to overthrow a government and institute a new one would seem to be a right of the people, not just the two or three people who are fed up with things).

  • ||

    but who are the people?
    a referndum taken before the american revolution, would the majority have wanted to separate from England?

    I am pretty sure that if a referendum had been had in 1973, most americans would have been dead set agaisnt legalizing abortion.

    the problem with gun rights is that the people in government want to ban guns and the majority of the populace want to be able to get a gun if they want one, without turning to crime to do it. Other issues divide the populace, like abortion and immigration.

    I believe that the government wants the populace to be unarmed so it can have power over people. Unarmed people can't fight back.

    on the other hand, it seems unlikey that the kind of people who make up our police and military will ever consent to march against their own people on the command of some leftwinger. but you never know.

  • B||

    "on the other hand, it seems unlikey that the kind of people who make up our police and military will ever consent to march against their own people on the command of some leftwinger"

    you mean the people who taser little old ladies for taking an "aggressive posture" while bed ridden? Or shoot and kill unarmed motorists for making "furtive gestures" that no one else witnessed? They already think you are the enemy.

  • ||

    you ignore my point.

    the kind of people that join the military, like the son of Sarah Palin, will not come to take the guns of their mother and father. They will not obey the order. At least, I don't think so. Others in the military might, and then there will be a civil war in the military, which will spread to the general population.

    Liberals are always against any step that would deprive criminals of guns. Their aim is to make sure than non criminals like Palin and Joe the Plumber can't get guns.

  • the_ancient||

    You seem to have forgot the Police, and the national Guard Takes the cons of the Citizenry after Katrina. The Very time with those people needed those weapons the Police and Armed Forces, under orders, Took the Guns of Law Abiding people and then left them defenseless, including the famous video of the the Old lady with a Revolver being assaulted by these gestopo types in order to illegally take her weapon.

    The Police, Military, and National Guard, will if ordered take your weapons by force is required...

  • ||

    "on the other hand, it seems unlikey that the kind of people who make up our police and military will ever consent to march against their own people on the command of some leftwinger. but you never know."

    Not true. President Hoover set the Army loose on a group of WWI veterans protesting the Governments failure to honor promises made to them. They actually opened fire on the tent city the veterans were living in.

  • ||

    Hoover predated the culture wars. People obeyed the president and thought they were doing the right thing for the nation. It is totally different now.

  • Apogee||

    You live in a fantasy world. People, no matter what 'group' to which they belong, will work towards their own gain. All that is needed to get 'those' people on board is to make it profitable to do so.

    See asset forfeiture.

  • ||

    "I believe that the government wants the populace to be unarmed so it can have power over people. Unarmed people can't fight back."

    If you actually had enough people to make an overthrow of the government a possibility, however slight, why would you resort to violence? If dissent were to reach such a level, the system would more likely than not correct itself. But if it did not, the ability to organize that many people into a cohesive unit would make violence unnecessary.

    Granted, that line of reasoning doesn't serve to get your short hairs tingling but there it is.

  • ||

    Ed, if the government comes to confiscate guns, there will be violence. What happens next depends upon whether the pro government people are more than the anti government people.

  • ||

    Dunno who this guy is but he sure makes some good points...

  • the_ancient||

    Again Katrina showed us that "the people" are not willing to defend their rights if the government comes for them. Instead they whine, and verbally complain, but in the end they hand over their weapons to the government, some of which to this day have not been return and probably never will be

  • redefiler||

    More importantly Katrina showed us that people will ignore warnings about potentially catastrophic weather systems out of laziness, stupidity and desire to loot.

    I agree the Feds shouldn't be seizing lawfully owned weapons, but I'm also sure if I was in the National Guard and in a disaster area with a disproportional amount of crazy armed nuts who ignored all hurricane warnings, I'd rather not get shot at.

  • the_ancient||

    What about the people that went back in after the Hurricane to protect what was left of their property, ohh I guess when a Hurricane comes you lose all property rights, I understand now...

  • High School Dropout||

    gold my friend, gold.

  • ||

    The main reason those people in New Orleans handed over their weapons post-Katrina is because with a gun in their right hand, they couldn't push their wheelbarrows full of electronics and liquor back home. They kept spinning around in 12 ft clockwise circles. Once their guns were gone, however, they were able to beeline back to the house and come back for the next round of essentials, like xbox's and flat-screen tv's.

  • ||

    And if the people don't want a bailout of "too big to fail" banks, then they should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

    Oops.

  • Jefferson Davis||

    'If "the people" want to allow slavery, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.'

  • ||

    I agree with this. Ribbit.

  • ||

    Hi, allow me invite you to my community:--== [C_o_u_g_a_r_a_ @ c.//o.//m] ==-- (where mature women and men who like cougar find love).Best Cougar dating site in the world! It's where cougars and younger men can meet(Cougar is the slang for woman who is mature, experienced and want to date with a younger man). No matter you are looking for a NSA or serious relationship, please do check it out!And also you may find yourself more compatible with young men.For young men, dating an older woman has numerous advantages. You can sometimes learn valuable advice from her on how to conduct himself in a difficult situation. She is your best listener and supporter.Join us and contact tens of thousands of cougars and cougar admirers!It's where mature women and men who like them can get fvcked.

  • Lou||

    Wow Dude, that makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

    www.real-anonymity.se.tc

    lou --

  • PIRS||

    Bot vs. Bot!! This is like a Tojo Studios monster film!

  • ||

    (Cougar is the slang for woman who is mature, experienced and want to date with a younger man)

    How useful is spam if the concept behind still needs to be defined?

    Anyone even remote interesting in ass-fucking Barbara Boxer through a slit in her support hose already knows what a cougar is.

  • ||

    "remotely interested"

    So tired.

  • ||

    Anyone even remote interesting in ass-fucking Barbara Boxer through a slit in her support hose, needs professional help.

  • ||

    I'm sure the "psychiatric help for cougar hunters" bot is not far behind.

  • ||

    It is not so much Cougars as it is that Cougar that is so disturbing.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I need help!!

  • ||

    Oh, fer fucks' sake, you'd do her like that if you could get away with it.

    Man up and admit it.

  • Ted S.||

    Anyone even remote interesting in ass-fucking Barbara Boxer through a slit in her support hose already knows what a cougar is.

    Age != maturity

  • ||

    I'm glad they defined "cougar." We don't want to make the wrong impression and end up with a bunch of large cat or Mercury fetishers.

  • PIRS||

    If you search the Internet enough you can probably find such a site. It takes all kinds. What people do to their own automobile is there business. The other fetish would be very dangerous however. That would be a true Darwin Award winner.

  • ||

    As long as it's a Cougar that came out before catalytic converters, there should be no problem getting it in there, right?
    I don't think they ever made diesels, but if so that would also increase one's odds of satisfaction with minimal risk of getting stuck.

  • ||

    Everytime I see a posting by this bot, my mind's ear hears it as if read aloud in a Geoff Peterson voice. Maybe the Craig Ferguson could license that voice to GPS manufacturers for reciting directions aloud.

  • ||

    So I'm assuming that this is the way the Thundercats were created. Young men dating cougars and having half cat half human babies.

  • Sally||

    Where in the constitution does it say you have an individual right to have guns? It is not there, it is a right for the states to have a militia, now known as a national guard, not the individuals. Why don't all judges support a right to abortion? That is in the constitution via the right to privacy. Any violation of the sacrosanct rite of abortion is clearly unconstitutional. The constitution is was written a long time ago, things change, and interpretations need to change. Chicago has serious gun crime problems, they need stricter gun control laws to keep guns out of criminal hands, not free access to guns. Should we have ammunition vending machines in kindergarden classrooms? Should we be allowed to have nuclear weapons? Aircraft carriers? Sarin gas? Where does it stop. A gun is more likely to kill someone by accident than to succesfully kill a criminal. How about if there is a crime you call the police and have them stop it? They are the ones supposed to know how to use guns, in fact the right to bear arms really means the right to be protected by an armed police force, national guard and military. If there is a crime, say like there is someone on drugs or something, call the police, don't shoot them. People don't feel safe with guns, gun free zones make us feel safe. Knowing no one has a gun because of gun laws protects us.

  • ||

    The satire is way over the top. No one can believe all these things and still have the wherewithal to feed themselves, much less post on a board.

  • ||

    I know actual people who believe all this. And they feed themselves....a lot!

  • poopy||

    me too

  • PIRS||

    The proper term for people such as this is "progressive". You need no intellectual honesty to be progressive. You simply need the ability to believe two or more self-contradictory beliefs simultaneously. This is known as cognitive-dissonance AKA progressivism.

  • Sally||

    And where is the cognitive dissonance in progressive beliefs? I fail to see what you say.

  • poopy||

    For example the notion that gun laws prevent crime.
    The problem with that is that criminals, by definition, do not follow the law.
    This means that only law abiding people are disarmed by gun laws, while the criminals continue to carry guns.

    So what is the progressive solution? More laws of course.

    The idea that laws disarm lawbreakers is pure cognitive dissonance.

  • Sally||

    With strict enough laws, a background check would keep guns out of the hands of anyone ever arrested or treated for a mental illness.

  • poopy||

    That is based on the false assumption that all guns are purchased from law abiding dealers.
    And I don't just mean gun shows.
    There are also private sales between individuals where no background check will ever happen.
    Last week I almost purchased a gun at a yard sale.

  • Sally||

    Last week I almost purchased a gun at a yard sale.

    Should be illegal.

  • PIRS||

    "Should be illegal."

    OK, gotta be a parody.

  • poopy||

    I do know idiots who actually believe that laws have magical powers.

    But I'm inclined to agree that Sally is a satirical troll.

  • Llama Face||

    I bought a car off ebay. In 2008, 31,110 people were killed in car accidents.

    Should be illegal.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Should be illegal"

    Since making something illegal stops it from happening, why not just make it illegal for criminals to shoot innocent people? For that matter, we could keep them from even becoming criminals by making it illegal to do whatever they did that got them thrown in jail in the first place. We could eliminate crime by making it illegal to do illegal things.

  • poopy||

    BTW Sally, why should people who have been arrested or treated for mental illness not be allowed to have guns?
    Are you saying that they do not deserve the right to protect their lives from people who would seek to do them harm?
    Are their lives worth less than the lives of people who have not been arrested or treated for mental illness?
    I thought you progressive types were all about equality and fairness, yet you would treat one life as more deserving of defending than another.
    Hypocrite.

  • Sally||

    BTW Sally, why should people who have been arrested or treated for mental illness not be allowed to have guns?

    Because they are known to be dangerous, just like if they are known to use a controlled substance.

  • chaka||

    sally=juanita=awesome

  • PIRS||

    Wow! So it wasn't a parody? It is someone who actually believes all of this. OK, Sally, if you really do believe all of those things I can use your own words as an example:

    "Where in the constitution does it say you have an individual right to have guns? It is not there, it is a right for the states to have a militia, now known as a national guard, not the individuals. Why don't all judges support a right to abortion? That is in the constitution via the right to privacy."

    From the above quote you claim to be very skeptical about an individual right to bear arms and yet just accept a right to privacy. I agree that there is a right to privacy (even though this has nothing to do with abortion in my view but that is a topic for another thread)! However, the word "privacy" does not exist in the Constitution. It is there because the Constitution only grants the government specific powers. It also specifically denies other powers to the Federal Government. Furthermore, the 10th Amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Sure, you have a right to privacy.

    But you are skeptical of the Individual Right to bear arms. I submit that even if the 2nd Amendment were not in the Constitution we would STILL have a constitutionally recognized individual right to bear arms because of what I just wrote above.

  • ||

    This, it would seem, is the greatest difficulty that many, both "conservative" and "liberal", have with the concept of individual rights. The Constitution did not create any rights, or grant any rights to the citizens of this (then new) nation. Rather, the framers recognized (and articulated in the Constitution) that individuals are born with rights, inherent rights, which should not be infringed by the "state" without just cause. The right to privacy exists along with the right to bear arms not because the Constitution granted each, but because we inherently have them and the government has no grounds to infringe upon them.

  • Sally||

    Please do more research before you spread your ignorance and partial truths.

    Our right to bear arms is understandable, but we must take into consideration along with that right the real harm that weapons, not just guns, cause our society in the U.S. compared to other nations.

    It implies responsibility for those weapons, which is not borne out ideally in practice.

    Children suffer the most from this.

    I think a more rational approach on your behalf would make everyone safer.

    Reposted from response to “smearjay”, “Supreme Court Extends Rights of Gun Owners Across the Country,” June 29, 2010:

    1. Gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting, than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.

    Journal of Trauma, 1998

    2. In the U.S, children under 15 commit suicide with guns at a rate of eleven times the rate of other countries combined.

    For children under the age of 15, the rate of suicide in the United States is twice the rate of other countries. For suicides involving firearms, the rate was almost eleven times the rate of other countries combined.

    U.S. Department of Justice, March 2000

    3. Guns in the home are the primary source for firearms that teenagers use to kill themselves in the United States.

    Studies show that guns in the home are the primary source for firearms that teenagers use to kill themselves.

    Injury Prevention, 1999”

  • poopy||

    Ah yes, the It's For The Children defense.
    Now if anyone disagrees with you you can dismiss them as a hater of children.

  • PIRS||

    Even more dangerous is Dihydrogen Monoxide. Can you believe this dangerous substance is actually in our water supply!! It must be banned, for the children.

    You can learn more about this dangerous substance here:
    http://www.dhmo.org/

  • Llama Face||

    300 children (average) a year drown in pools in the United States.

    BAN THE POOLS!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    It *should be illegal* for minors to drown.

    Solved that!

  • ||

    What, then, is your preferred way for children under 15 to commit suicide?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Our right to bear arms is understandable, but we must take into consideration along with that right the real harm that weapons, not just guns, cause our society in the U.S. compared to other nations.


    Other nations like Brazil, Russia, and Mexico?

    Also,"many of the rights that our Bill of Rights provides for persons accused of criminal offenses are virtually unique to this country. If our understanding of the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel were necessary attributes of any civilized country, it would follow that theUnited States is the only civilized Nation in the world."

  • Joe||

    I seem to be pointing this out a lot recently, but gun control doesn't decrease the suicide rate--just look at the US vs countries with stricter gun control.

    I don't see how the method matters, unless you're just using it as an excuse to ban guns. People who want to kill themselves will find a way, whether it's a gun, a car, a rope, pills, or jumping off a tall building.

    It's just intellectually dishonest to conflate gun ownership with suicide rates. If you take away the means for one method of suicinde, people will use another.

  • PIRS||

    +1

  • ||

    from the bastion of liberalism...Harvard...

    Indeed, “data on firearms ownership by constabulary area in England,” like data from the United States, show “a negative correlation,” that is, “where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest,
    and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.”

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/stu.....online.pdf

    good night Sally....

  • T-Bar||

    There were plenty of guns in our house when I was growing up. And the reason there were no accidents or violence was because my dad insisted that all three of us kids received training in the proper way to treat them. So instead of banning guns, we should have mandatory training in all elementary schools in proper respect for a firearm. Like if you see one, don't touch it. If you are handed one, the VERY first thing you do is verify that it is not loaded. And after you verify that it is not loaded, you continue to ALWAYS treat it like it IS loaded.

    That would do a lot more toward achieving the goals you seem to espouse than preventing law abiding citizens from possessing guns.

  • ||

    Interesting, your concern for children is admirable. But I am curious as to how you reconcile yourself with abortion?
    I have a 14 yr old. In the year they were born, in the US there was 1 abortion for every 3 live births. (Bureau of Vital Statistics) My kid has already survived a threat far higher than that present by guns in our society.

  • ||

    Sally..while you make some excellent arguments, many of which counsel my personal opposition to own a firearm, the proper avenue to address these issues (as with those raised by anti-abortion advocates) would be education, not legislation. We do not live in a "Nanny State", and should not wish to. We should instead seek to educate others, peacefully, of the dangers or wrongs we perceive rather than taking up the call to legislate ourselves into submission.

  • Paul||

    So we don't have gun crime problem, we have a gun suicide problem. Wow, talk about moving the goalposts.

  • ||

    "Children suffer the most from this."

    ---
    But apparently not from abortion.

    Your comments are surreal.

  • ||

    "You simply need the ability to believe two or more self-contradictory beliefs simultaneously. This is known as cognitive-dissonance AKA progressivism."

    In "1984," George Orwell labeled the same phenomenon as "doublethink."

  • PIRS||

    +1

  • ||

    And to be precise, "cognitive dissonance" isn't the "holding" of incongruous beliefs. It is the anxiety you feel BECAUSE you hold them. Orwell's "doublethink" actually describes a state of mind BEYOND cognitive dissonance, wherein the Ingsoc party member can hold mutually contradictory beliefs without feelings of tension or conflict, or the appreciation (even the recognition) of irony.

  • slutmonkey||

    This.

  • ||

    Am I correct in thinking that the words tension and conflict did not exist, as they had been deleted. Therefore, according to Sally's logic, the feelings associated with those two words were not only unlikely, they were downright impossible?

    On a side note, irony was also impossible. but chocolate rations were up, which was just dandy.

  • ||

    +1

  • JoshINHB||

    Should we have ammunition vending machines in kindergarden classrooms?

    Nice strawman

    No one is advocating ammunition vending machines in classrooms until middle school.

  • Nipplemancer||

    Speak for yourself. I believe ammunition should be vended from all classrooms, not just kindergarden.

  • ||

    It's probably a reference to this.

  • ||

    Sure would be more interesting than the crappy fundraisers my kids' school holds to play for playground equipment.

  • No One||

    You're damned right I'm for them! Thanks for promoting my position, JoshINHB!

  • Llama Face||

    "How about if there is a crime you call the police and have them stop it? They are the ones supposed to know how to use guns, in fact the right to bear arms really means the right to be protected by an armed police force, national guard and military. If there is a crime, say like there is someone on drugs or something, call the police, don't shoot them."

    Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005). The police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. Just sayin'.

    And I don't know about you, but I am not keen on waiting thirty minutes for the cops to show up and do something about the person trying to invade my home or threaten my life. True story- I once waited thirty five minutes for the police to show up at my house when a drunk, beligerent man mistook my house for his house, and was trying to kick in the door, screaming about how he was going to, "kick your fucking ass, bitch, if you don't open this door!" I sat at the bottom of my stairs, holding a a rolling pin, hoping I could hold him off.

    The next day, I went out and bought a gun, which I keep locked and loaded in my night stand. I sleep peacefully, knowing I can defend myself and my child.

  • poopy||

    A progressive would rather die with a phone in their hand than live with a gun in their hand.

  • Llama Face||

    Because that would make them a matyr for the cause in the fight for gun control.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Excluding progressive politicians of course. They will make an exception so that they may keep guns by their beds. They prefer that *you* die with a phone in your hand.

  • High School Dropout||

    they hire security to hold the guns for them silly.

  • ||

    Is it possible to recognize, to respect, that a right exists, and still choose not to exercise that right? Is that so wrong?

  • poopy||

    Not for a progressive.
    If they personally don't like guns then they feel nobody should have one.
    They do not believe in individual choice (except with regards to terminating unborn life).
    The individual is the enemy of the collective.
    You speak of individual choice, and there is nothing that collectivists hate (and fear) more than the individual.
    Progressives base all decisions on emotion and how they feel that their decision will be perceived by others.
    The individual does not do this. The individual evaluates on personal need, not on what the group may think.

    This makes the individual unpredictable, so he is to be feared.

  • ||

    poopy...many of my friends would consider me a "progressive" (I personally don't, as I often think the government is more the problem than the solution). Nonetheless, I thought I'd submit myself to your little litmus test:
    I personally loath guns, but respect the right of those who wish to own them.
    I support the right to individual choice in all regards, including the right to bear arms, freedom of speech and religion, the right to choice with regard to pregnancy, the right to possess and use marijuana, the right to view "pornographic" material, etc.
    I am neither Borg nor part of the Matrix, and as such, don't believe in collectives. I applaud individual success, but see corporate-think as no different than collective think.
    I disagree with the notion that the individual does not base decisions on emotion. Anyone who does not consider emotion in their decisions, or who has no thought for the rest of society, should go crawl back under whatever rock they emerged from, or find some nice isolated island to live as far from everyone as possible.

  • slutmonkey||

    I think poopy is referring to the use of emotion at the EXCLUSION of logic/reason. When you live life entirely through fearful knee-jerk reactions your decisions will be as bad or worse than someone who makes entirely logical ones.

    Not being controlled by your emotions does not prevent you from being compassionate, caring, moral or principled. In fact, having control of your emotions in decision making is REQUIRED to achieve all of these things.

  • ||

    That would be kinda like a klingon vs spock. I really can't say I'd prefer the klingon basing all of his decisions on emotion (rage/hate). Of course, their birds of prey were kick-ass compared to the vulcan ships,so they do have that in their favor.

  • ||

    That would be kinda like a klingon vs spock. I really can't say I'd prefer the klingon basing all of his decisions on emotion (rage/hate). Of course, their birds of prey were kick-ass compared to the vulcan ships,so they do have that in their favor.

  • ||

    When seconds count...the police are just minutes away.

  • Scooby||

    I had a very similar experience, but I waited 45 minutes, the drunks were looking for my neighbor (not their own house), and they didn't stick around for long after I showed them a pistol through the front window.

    What amazed me is that the cops took 45 minutes to show up when I told them (via 911) that I was about to shoot two people, but weeks later showed up within 5 minutes for a neighbor's noise complaint.

  • ||

    I've apologized for this twice. Give me a break, will ya?

  • ||

    the Second Amendment (means it is part of the Constitution) is an individual right, like all the others. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is not meant to empower the Federal Government, but to muzzle it so it cannot trample on people's natural (or God given if you preger) rights. It is spelled out. The spurious claim that abortion is a right based on 'privacy' in that same document is false. Show me where it says privacy is a right. I'll give you a hint; it's not in there. Closest thing would be unreasonable search and seizure without due process. Which actually means more protection for law-abiding gun owners, as the Gov cannot make blanket confiscations of firearms unless the second amendment is repealed. The Fourteenth Amendment solidifies that as it was written to keep Southern Democrats from writing laws that limited the rights of blacks to both vote and own firearms. You might want to educate yourself before you open your mouth and look even more foolish.

  • Sally||

    Because of the roe wade descision, abortion was determined to be the most important fundamental right in the constitution. The 2nd is an anacronism in todays world. The constitution is living docuemnt.

  • Llama Face||

    Abortion is NOT the most important fundamental right in the constitution. In fact, abortion isn't even in there. At all. And neither is the right to privacy.

    One could argue that, with the mass availability and relative low cost of numerous types of birth control, abortion is an anachronism, too. You shouldn't need to have abortions because there are myriad ways to keep from getting pregnant in the first place.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Because of the roe wade descision, abortion was determined to be the most important fundamental right in the constitution. The 2nd is an anacronism in todays world. The constitution is living docuemnt.


    If we accept a results-oriented jurisprudence, it undermines whatever protection the Constitution offers.

  • Almanian||

    "HAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Sally'll be here all week, folks!* Try the chicken fingers!"

    *God, I hope I'm wrong

  • ||

    Does anyone seriously not recognize the Sally posts as trolling?

  • Zeb||

    This has to be satire.

  • ||

    I know you guys aren't buying this shit.

  • ||

    "Knowing no one has a gun because of gun laws protects us."

    Seriously? I think my head is going to explode

  • ||

    In the case of Chicago, any criminal who wants a firearm can get one. Only law-abiding citizens were kept from the right of self-defense. Studies show that the more guns available to the populace, the less chance of getting mugged.

  • ||

    Yes, Tom, in Chicago criminals can easily get guns. Aldermen, too.

    But I repeat myself.

  • ||

    Sally is barking up the wrong tree. The last time I looked at death statistics bath tubs caused more deaths than handguns. We should be banning or at least registering bath tubs so that only appropriate government bureaucrats have access to them.

  • ||

    When bathtubs are outlawed, only outlaws will be clean and wrinkly!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Sally,

    Where in the constitution does it say you have an individual right to have guns?

    Where in the constitution does it say we have a right to breed?

    Read the 9th Amendment, that thing that says not to miscontrue from the previous amendments that people only have those rights mentioned. And use your head, at least for once in your life.

  • Almanian||

    OM, please stop giving them ideas. I like to breed....:)

  • ||

    http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov.....-7041a.pdf

    Sally, that's the link to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Heller case. It goes into great detail on why the 2nd amendment is an individual right. Note, it was written NOT TO ESTABLISH the RKBA, it was written to preserve the right that the colonists had under english common law at the time as INDIVIDUALs to keep and bear arms. Please do not post anything on the subect until you've read and digested that, as well as the SCOTUS ruling on Heller as well. http://www.supremecourt.gov/op.....07-290.pdf
    It is painfully obvious that you do not know what you are talking about.

  • ||

    "How about if there is a crime you call the police and have them stop it?"

    Ignorance is bliss isn't it Sally?
    There are two SCOTUS decisions that put the to rest the validity of the above statement. A 1963 decision and a 1992 decision. The court was very clear that the only obligation the police have is solve a crime, if possible, once it has been committed. They aren't even required to step in and stop a crime in progress taking place in front of them.

    So do us all a favor and continue to trust that the police are there to protect you. Maybe that way we will eventually be able to nominate you for a Darwin Award.

  • Dylan Klebold||

    I seem to remember the cops waiting outside while me and Eric finished our business.

  • ||

    Are you a ghost?

  • Paul||

    Chicago has serious gun crime problems, they need stricter gun control laws to keep guns out of criminal hands, not free access to guns.

    That's impossible. There's been a gun ban in place for years in Chicago.

    Try harder with your arguments, then it'll be easier for us to respond while we laugh.

  • ||

    C'mon, not even I would fall for this shit... this is like a punji pit covered with palm fronds in the middle of an expressway.. a little too obvious, Ms. Maddow

  • ||

    Where the f*&% in the Constitution is the "right to privacy" you mention? (Here's a hint,--you have to look in the penumbra. Real hard).

  • ||

    4th (sort-of-ish), 9th, and 10th Amendments.

    Nowhere does the Constitution specifically mention a right to privacy, but it doesn't have to. It limits and enumerates the powers of the federal and state governments.

    "Right to privacy" is most often invoked by pro-abortion advocates. I'm far and away not one of those, but I'm not going to cede the high ground of a government of limited, enumerated powers to win that fight.

  • ||

    Ok Sally lets clear up some very deluded misconceptions you have:
    Militias were the everyday people who could be called up to protects the land and people from Indians, British,etc and the 2nd amendment wanted to PEOPLE to keep and bear arms, not the government.
    Now as for abortions I believe a woman does have that specific right under certain conditions, rape, incest, health issues,and such. what the issue with Roe V Wade was that even if a doctor wanted to abort a baby, in the time it would not be viable if born to save the womans life it could and would if other doctors decided the original doc was wrong literally destroy the guys career if not get him sent to jail,,, even if saving the mothers life. Now while it gave every loose legged whore a chance to get knocked up and have an abortion when ever, even up to partial birth/9th month abortions.
    Now if you live in Chicago response time (of the police)if a criminal is breaking your door in is 12 minutes, in this time you can be assaulted(ie raped) multiple times, beaten, your son/daughter/husband/wife assaulted too, robbed and killed. Then the response time for Ambulance is 14 to 20 minutes.
    A human can bleed out in less than 2 from internal or external injuries.
    now let tell you the number of criminals who give one spit about your so called gun laws, gun free zones,registration laws that are draconian,etc.
    Now where in the Constitution does nit state you have the right to police protection, but it says we can keep and bear arms.
    OK nuclear weapons have rules regulations etc and it takes a lot to even GET nuclear material for reason, it takes special handling,storage,etc.
    air craft carrier,,,,what would I do with one it takes over 3000 people to operate one and millions of dollars to maintain and has zero value to me.
    Sarin gas, again its prohibited by Geneva Convention, and take similar precautions to handle/make/maintain.
    Now a s for your remark that a hand gun is more likely to kill by accident than to kill a criminal is just plain untrue and statistics from the last 30 yrs prove me right.
    Now if you have a person trying to break into a normal everyday house it takes on the average of LESS than 1 minute to do so. Even if the average response time of Chicago of 12 minutes is cut in half, your hurt/dead/assaulted if you have time to get through to 911 and get proper information relayed.
    Now the fact is a person with a firearm and no training/instruction are of 34% higher chance of having an accident.
    BUT the Federal statistics show that as LEGAL handgun ownership rises in crime ridden areas, crime goes down. Criminals will take advantage of your stupidity of trusting in the local gendarme to protect as they probably know just how long they have to get you/your stuff.
    Knowing no legal citizen has a firearm, means ONLY the few police in town and the criminals have weapons.
    Think the criminal has a waiting period or has to get a permit or anything?
    Nope they steal your car, fence it take that cash and get an illegal gun and maybe catch you and take your wallet, jewelry, life.
    Now if you can carry a gun, knife, pepper spray or have self defense training your odds of survival in an armed robbery go UP by over 90%.
    Making my right to protect my self illegal is a crime,,,,this is what the 2nd Amendment means.
    Now SHOULD there be REASONABLE rules and regulations to own/carry firearms,,,yes.
    I have a lifetime carry permit and I have also lived with firearms, handled them and shot them. And have stopped 2 crimes in the time since I got the lifetime permit.
    One was an assault/attempted car jacking of a lady and her daughter, the daughter probably would have been killed or hurt after the perpetrator stole the car.
    Uninformed, illiterate(this because you cant read or dont read before stating erroneous information) , and just plain stupid people like you are why we have criminals free and honest citizens make criminal in trying to protect their life/property.

  • redefiler||

    Sally, you obviously haven't really read the Bill of Rights very well. The second amendment is pretty clear, and if that's not plain enough for you, I suggest reading the Federalist papers for more detailed explanations by the authors. If that isn't enough, here's the father of the Democratic party, Thomas Jefferson "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." and "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms..disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." and "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

    See? You're never too old to learn.

  • poopy||

    I find it ironic that the 14th Amendment was passed in part to nullify laws disarming newly freed slaves.

  • ||

    This is interesting.

    "AL SHARPTON (4:52): I would say 90% of the calls I received yesterday were in support of the Supreme Court and people say they want to bear guns. They’re tired of the violence and it’s very very interesting. I have had a few on both sides today, but yesterday was overwhelming, it was stunning to me.

    I just told Attorney Lou Meyers, lady stopped me last night; I did the commencement address at Boys and Girls High. She said I listen to your show Reverend and I want you to know I’m saved sanctified by feel of the Holy Ghost, but if they come in my house I’m going to drop them right where they stand. So, and she looked like she was in her eighties."

    http://radioequalizer.blogspot.....ingly.html

    I have always suspected gun control is a stuff white people like thing.

  • PIRS||

    It is hard to enslave someone who is armed. Many in the black community apparently understand that. Firearms are also less expensive than house alarms. For someone who cannot afford "Brink's Home Security" a firearm is a good, less expensive, alternative.

  • ||

    Exactly. And it is impossible to live in a rough neighborhood unarmed. Even if you could live in liberaltopia and took all the guns away, women and old people still wouldn't have a chance against young men. A weapon is a great equalizer. Grandma maybe 90 and weigh 100 lbs, but her smith and wesson will kill you just as dead.

  • poopy||

    In liberaltopia nobody would need guns because there would be an armed policeman within sight of everyone at all times. If a young man accosted an old lady the police would be right there to intervene. Old ladies would be free to walk anywhere at any time, day or night, and be safe. Freedom means a police state.

  • ||

    "In liberaltopia ... Freedom means a police state."

    That about says it all.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    In liberaltopia nobody would need guns because there would be an armed policeman within sight of everyone at all times. If a young man accosted an old lady the police would be right there to intervene. Old ladies would be free to walk anywhere at any time, day or night, and be safe. Freedom means a police state.


    Black people would not fare well, though.

  • Joe||

    Unless "stop and frisk" is your idea of a good time (NTTAWWT).

  • Suki||

    Home invasion roleplay can get pretty exciting when a real gun is involved.

  • ||

    You might want to make sure it's not loaded before you let him put it there.

  • Suki||

    Way to slow the pace and spoil a mood Nick.

  • Jen||

    +100

  • Paul||

    For someone who cannot afford "Brink's Home Security" a firearm is a good, less expensive, alternative.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • ||

    Yes it is a white thing - mainly designed in the post-reconstruction south to keep blacks unarmed. Today, white liberals want to keep blacks unarmed so that they depend upon white liberal gov't to protect them. Plus white liberals are scared shitless of black people.

  • ||

    They don't much care for white rural hicks, either.

    In this case they're not so much afraid as just disdainful of our low tastes and degenerate lifestyle.

    (Cue "Dueling Banjoes.")

  • slutmonkey||

    White liberals ARE scared shitless of black people which is why they're so quick to jump on/push the "That's racist!" card for EVERYTHING.

    Don't like rap music? You're a racist. Think it's stupid that white people can't say nigga but blacks can? Racist.

    If you're a white person who works hard to enforce ideas like this: congratulations you're scared of black people.

  • slutmonkey||

    Racist.

  • ¢||

    the right to overthrow a government and institute a new one would seem to be a right of the people, not just the two or three people who are fed up with things).

    Attempting to overthrow the government is a violation of the people's blah blah whatever. It's the "right" of whoever succeeds. If it's two dudes, it's two dudes. I suggest Batman and Ron Artest.

  • ||

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    In their dissenting opinions, Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer (joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) worry that overturning gun control laws undermines democracy. If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

    Why should we be surprised that "liberals" are hypocrites who adopt Borkian majoritarianism when it suits their purpose?

  • ||

    "Just as they can help homeowners defend their families and property from intruders," he explains, "they can help thugs and insurrectionists murder innocent victims."


    Are we concerned about insurrectionists at the moment? I haven't been following the news too closely, it seems.

  • Proud Libertarian||

    Why, if ah didunt have mah 22 the hong kong po-lice and them uppity nigras wood come an steal mah chickens right tootin quick. that there fedral gummiment is done scared o mah gun and they wont come after mah chickens with their tanks, helicopters, air-o-planes and armur peircing ammo if i has mah gun!!

  • ||

    I don't beleive you have to worry about the gummiment taking your chickens. The Colonel has quite tasty chicken already.

  • ||

    he meant tea party folks; Stevens might watch a tad of MSNBC.

  • ||

    All of the Bill of Rights are garaunteed or none of it is. If the first and third ammendments are sacred rights of all citizens, then so is the second.

    We don't seem to have this kind of judicial pondering of Angels Dancing on Pins for any of the other Amendments.

    Basically liberals don't like guns and they don't regard people who do as normal. Therefore they think that there is something wrong with gun owners who are best ignored so that the good people can decide what's best.

  • poopy||

    Political Correctness is a religion.

  • iamtheeviltwin||

    "We don't seem to have this kind of judicial pondering of Angels Dancing on Pins for any of the other Amendments."

    You might want to reference the dissenting Citizens United opinion for some First Amendment pin dancing.

  • redefiler||

    Remember the whole text not just the specific Amendments... it starts by stating that the people retain all rights not specifically granted to the government or detailed in the Bill of Rights.

    If the people have all the rights, and grant authority to the government, then they retain the power to revoke it. The 2nd amendment is the underlining of this establishing philosophy of our government. It's the first 'check and balance'. Safety is a poor excuse for attempts to sidestep this, without it, there is no safety.

  • Wegie||

    Hey, were's Chad and that other dickhead???

  • EasyPeasy||

    The surgery was a success, Sally is the new Chad.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.


    Will they apply that same reasoning to Perry v. Schwarzenegger ?

  • ||

    If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

    The people can implement that desire via a constitutional convention to repeal 2A. I am shocked and surprised that four supreme court justices don't know that.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    One of the unique properties of gun bans is that they are enforced by people who are not bound by them.

    Bigamy bans are not enforced by bigamists.

    Prohibition was not enforced by drunk people.

    Heroin bans are not enforced by heroin users.

    Same-sex “marriage” bans are not enforced by same-sex “married” people.

  • PIRS||

    +9999999999999999999999999999999

    Very good point! If guns are so dangerous why are the police (who enforce the law) not also bound by this law?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    +9999999999999999999999999999999

    Very good point! If guns are so dangerous why are the police (who enforce the law) not also bound by this law?


    It was the best point.

    Look at the debate over same-sex "marriage". Imagine if the campaign to ban same-sex "marriage" nationwide was led, not just by gay people, but by people who had "married" same-sex partners in the Netherlands or Canada. There would be public outcry from the media, and the campaign against same-sex "marriage" would have zero credibility.

    Mayor Daley has a squad of armed bodyguards, and Chuck Schumer has a pistol permit. Why is not the media calling them out on their hypocrisy? How can the gun ban campaign have any credibility?>

  • Colon Bowell||

    + won

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Sally,

    Where in the constitution does it say you have an individual right to have guns?

    Where in the constitution does it say we have a right to breed?

    Read the 9th Amendment, that thing that says not to miscontrue from the previous amendments that people only have those rights mentioned. And use your head, at least for once in your life.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Where in the constitution does it say we have a right to breed?


    Our right to breed can be restricted under certain circumstances ( Buck v. Bell )

  • PIRS||

    I just googled that. I am shocked it has never been overturned!

  • Almanian||

    Man, the SCOTUS scares the fuck out of me.

    Oh, wait, I have guns and know how to use them - so they just "regular " scare me, cause at least I have a chance to fight back...

    ...for now.

  • ||

    I have a fall back position to hide mine if they try to take them. Searching 40 acres of land to find mine will bring them to tears.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Bury lots of random pieces of metal, at varying depths... if you haven't already. Make those fuckers dig a hole every two or three feet, or wear out metal detectors and shoe leather in the process.

    Oh, and bury some water pistols or BB guns in a cluster. Make it look like a quick-access cache of eeevul handguns. About two or three inches under the surface. Make sure something juuust sticks out.

    I'd bury a metal lunchbox with PICTURES of guns in it, just to really piss 'em off. Drawn in crayon, grade-school style. Which should be right at their comprehension level.

  • Chipotle||

    Mayor Daley has a squad of armed bodyguards, and Chuck Schumer has a pistol permit

    See a pattern? Me and the rest of the Proles are too stupid to do anything for ourselves. Well, except vote for the incredibly wise people who rule over me, taking away the burdens of every day life.

  • wingnutx||

  • slutmonkey||

    If she said no, she'd be admitting that the FDA is unconstitutional, and of course we can't have that.

  • High School Dropout||

    what's more frightening is that she looked dumbstruck at the question being posed to her.

  • ||

    And of course they still refuse to use the privileges and immunities clause, which would make cases so more logical and stop the stretching.

  • TruthOffering.com||

    I'm glad someone other than us brought up the fact that 4 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices found some Constitutional basis with which to deny the right to keep and bear arms. This is, in and of itself, an atrocity.

    Be sure to stop by TruthOffering.com to read this article about why the 5-4 vote is symptomatic of our deep-seeded ideological differences, and why Elena Kagan spells more trouble on the horizon:

    http://www.truthoffering.com/c.....stice.html

  • redefiler||

    I disagree that they found any Constitutional basis for their dissent, it's not in there... anywhere.

    They can also shove feathers up their butts, but it won't make them chicken.

  • ||

    Kudos to Jacob Sullum on an excellent read of this latest decision. One cannot overlook the disturbing irony of the Court's liberal wing adopting the "community standard" argument usually reserved for the more right wing (not to be confused with more judicially conservative) justices. I only hope that Ms. Kagan is true to her word when she stated that 2d Amendment issues are "settled law". One can only wait and hope.

  • Buck Farack||

    Wait and hope? Yeah, let me know how that works out for you. I think it's quite clear where Kagan is coming from - and where she WILL go once she is confirmed, which she wILL be.

    And - regarding her "word" regarding Heller being "settled law" - look again at what Sotomayor said about the individual right to arms - she "understood" it. She never said she agreed with it or supported that interpretation. Just because a particular case is "settled law" does not mean that Kagan won't find some way to distinguish later cases, limit the holding of Heller or - if at all possible - overturn it. If not possible to overturn it, she certainly could find some creative way to circumvent it or limit it to the point that it applies only to "its particular facts" - a neat trick the SCOTUS has used now and then.

  • ||

    Just as I've been reminded time and again to judge Scalia based upon Scalia, and not based on Alito, Roberts, Thomas et al (which has lead me to be pleasantly surprised by some Scalia rulings which the others did not join), I intend to judge Kagan on Kagan, and not on what Sotomayor said or how her vote proved a flip flop of her confirmation statement. Kagan's confirmation is a foregone conclusion,not only because she has the support of the Democratic majority in the Senate, but because she has the respect of a number of Republican senators as well. She has said, time and again, that a judge must separate his/her politics from their judicial action. Until called upon to render judgment in a case that strikes upon her political leanings, we cannot know for certain whether she'll uphold that belief or cast it aside. Thus I wait and see.

  • ||

    Just out of curiosity, could Sotamayor be held in contempt of the Senate or charged with perjury for blatently lying during her confirmation hearings? I doubt the republicans would dare try to pull that off unless they had a stacked deck, but you never know...

  • Nick||

    Well, if the 2nd amendment is still up for debate, maybe Roe v Wade is too.

  • ||

    I'd certainly hope that by now, both were "well settled law"

  • Sally||

    Roe v Wade is sacrosanct and can not ever be changed.

  • ||

    You are fucking with us, Ms Maddow!! And you are apparently impervious to logic (although I think mischeivious sorts are now appropriating your identity b/c it is more fun that way...)

  • ||

    No we're not

  • ||

    In my city of Minneapolis, there's a sort of a contest between the conceal-and-carry proponents (mostly conservatives) and the light-rail transit advocates (mostly liberals) on which one has caused the most deaths. So far, the light-rail people are "winning": 4 deaths to 1 (a conceal-and-carry dude got drunk and blasted a bouncer)!

    More scoring than a soccer match, that's fer sure...

  • ||

    A 2nd grader can read the 2nd amendment and understand that it gives people the right to bear arms. Yet the 4 most liberal justices on the Supreme Court can't seem to get there. Its hard to understand why they pretend so hard? They have lifetime appointments. They should just come out and say that they don't agree with the 2nd amendment, and they are going to use their position on the court to do want they want, not what the Contitution says. A little honesty would be refreshing!!

  • ||

    The 5-4 decision was very surprising (to me) and uncomfortably close.

  • Baba||

    A 2nd grader wouldn't ignore the first 13 words of the 2nd amendment and would truthfully say you have no right to own a gun unless you are part of a well regulated militia, just like it states in the first 13 words of the 2nd amendment, which gun dopes always ignore. Its that simple really.

  • ||

    This analogue helped me understand why people who parse the 2nd amendment to mean the opposite of what it means aren't really being honest about it.

    "A well-educated electorate being necessary to the preservation of a free society, the right of the people to read and compose books shall not be infringed."
    http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndana.html

  • ||

    I am a Militia. A militia of one. Hey we had an Army of One for awhile. So the Militia argument is now dead. (I shot it with my gun)
    Militia! Be all you can be!
    Militia Strong!

  • ||

    "Militia" was understood to mean all able-bodied males able to answer a call to arms at need. The term has a specific meaning. It does not imply membership in any body approved, sanctioned, or supervised by a governmental body.

    Further, the other amendments in the Bill of Rights specifically enumerate rights of individuals that the government cannot usurp. Why suddenly insert a right of the government that, uh, errr...that individuals cannot usurp? Wait, what?

    Was someone disputing the right of the federal or state governments to maintain armed forces without the Second Amendment?

    Finally, in the U.S. Code:
    10 USC CHAPTER 13 Subtitle A PART I CHAPTER 13 Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
    males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
    313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
    declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
    and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
    National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are -
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
    and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
    the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
    Naval Militia.

    Laid out in the U.S.C. is the fact that "militia" does not mean "National Guard".

    Can we set this sorry argument aside, finally?

  • ||

    Why suddenly insert a right of the government that, uh, errr...that individuals cannot usurp? Wait, what?

    Also, this would be the solitary "right" of the government in the Constitution. Recall that the government has powers, not rights.

  • redefiler||

    Nice slam dunk, mgd!

    You need a big robe and a gavel.

  • ||

    just like it states in the first 13 words of the 2nd amendment, which gun dopes always ignore. Its that simple really.

    ---
    The only think "simple" is your thinking.

  • ||

    Meant "thing"

  • Jen||

    I was going to post this for Sally, but Sally is not intelligent enough to understand it. Hopefully you are. Here is the text of the Second Amendment:

    "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."

    Even ignoring the fact that, at that time, "well-regulated militias" were just ragtag bands of farmers grabbing their muskets out of their sheds, if the right to bear arms were for militias only, it would have simply read, "The right of the People to keep and bear arms WITHIN A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA shall not be infringed." It does not say that though, does it? What it says is that the right of the PEOPLE to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    The two clauses there, separated by a comma, make the amendment abundantly clear to anyone who has the reading comprehension skills of a second-grader, and yet the liberal gun-control dopes always ignore it. It's that simple, really.

  • ||

    John Paul Stevens provides his own best evidence regarding the need to retire in this quote: "Just as they can help homeowners defend their families and property from intruders," he explains, "they can help thugs and insurrectionists murder innocent victims."

    Tell me, oh wise Justice, were the gun ban upheld which group would be more likely to lay down its arms - the folks protecting home and hearth from intrusion or the thugs murdering the innocent? Did this man actually draw moral equivalence between being armed for self-defense and being armed for instigation?

  • ||

    Constitutional right my ass! Unless you are part of a well regulated militia, which 99% or all gun owners aren't, then you have absolutely no right whatsoever to claim you have that constitutional right.

  • Colon Bowell||

    Rickyg: Umm, you too have cherry-picked the data. May I remind you of what follows?: "to the security of a free State," You are correct in reminding us that gun-rights advocates often selectively quote this amendment. However, the hypocrisy in your reminder is that you too have curiously left out the portion that discusses both security and FREE state. What was it about the value or meaning of "FREE" or "SECURITY" that you felt would be best if left out of your assertion?

  • ||

    And of course should we up hold this militia nonsense we could then outlaw Militias. What state is not already FREE and SECURE. The Fedral Gov't makes sure we are all sfae and sound. My Federal Government even tucks me in at night, right after it reads me a story.

  • ||

    RickyG, your ass might be part of the milita depending on your age. Well regulated as understood at the time of the constitution referred to the ability to call the militia (all able bodied men) into service BEARING weapons of their own. I.E. the purpose of the 2A was to ensure the new government did not infringe on the right for individuals to keep and bear arms they had enjoyed under english law. Hence, 2A did not establish a right, it ensures a pre-existing right would not be infringed.

    Please read the DC Appeals Court Ruling in Heller: http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov.....-7041a.pdf

    It could help you have an informed opinion on this vice parroting unfounded statements.
    10 USC CHAPTER 13 Subtitle A PART I CHAPTER 13 Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
    males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
    313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
    declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
    and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
    National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are -
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
    and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
    the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
    Naval Militia.

    Laid out in the U.S.C. is the fact that "militia" does not mean "National Guard".

  • Justen Robertson||

    If "the people" want to ban something, "the people" can get together and build themselves a little enclave where they unanimously agree not to carry firearms (or consume certain plants, or eat ice cream on thursdays, or let women wear pants, or whatever other stupid thing they want to ban). Otherwise "the people" can shove their dictates where the sun doesn't shine, constitution or no. I find it completely baffling that there is a presumption that your neighbors have the right to dictate how you conduct your life if enough of them agree. Here's an alternate legal theory: your neighbors can go fuck themselves.

  • Mad Max||

    Haven't read all the comments - has anyone noted the following footnote from the majority opinion. Bottom line - the Supremes seems to be thinking along the lines of full incorporation. Read the footnote and see if you agree:

    "Footnote 13

    "In addition to the right to keep and bear arms (and the Sixth Amendment right to a unanimous jury verdict . . .), the only rights not fully incorporated are (1) the Third Amendment's protection against quartering of soldiers; (2) the Fifth Amendment's grand jury indictment requirement; (3) the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in civil cases; and (4) the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on excessive fines.

    "We never have decided whether the Third Amendment or the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of excessive fines applies to the States through the Due Process Clause. See Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, Inc., 492 U. S. 257, 276, n. 22 (1989) (declining to decide whether the excessive-fines protection applies to the States); see also Engblom v. Carey, 677 F. 2d 957, 961 (CA2 1982) (holding as a matter of first impression that the "Third Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment for application to the states").

    "Our governing decisions regarding the Grand Jury Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Seventh Amendment's civil jury requirement long predate the era of selective incorporation."

  • Mad Max||

    Also, if you only read one concurring opinion this year, read Justice Thomas' concurrence in this case. I'm not saying I agree with incorporation, but Justice Thomas defends incorporation on the only possible grounds available - the privileges and immunities clause of Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment. Of course, as Justice Thomas points out, a clause referring to "process" cannot limit a state's substantive powers.

  • strat||

    Any well-meaning souls who insist that the militia = the National Guard really should read Title 10, Section 311 of the U.S. code. If you're male and between 17 and 45 you're in part of the militia, as defined by law, right now.

  • strat||

    One caveat:

    Assuming you're U.S. citizens or have declared an intent to reside there. I'm assuming that means permanent resident aliens.

  • ||

    At the bare bones the sole purpose of the supreme court is to rule on the constitutionality of laws that govern the united staes of america. At any period of time the popular opinion of the congress can swing one way or the other. The senate swings just by a third slower. The individual states have granted within there own constitution the ability to change faster or slower. At the fededal level the laws can be written as to be abided by the individual states. That in a nut shell is the constitutional framers intent. The supreme court provides the rulings. I would expect the court to wiegh challenges to federal and state laws against the constitution as written.

    Individual congresses can be swayed by public desires or uprisings of opinion,,, the supreme court exist to protect the united states constitution from these flash in the, pan knee jerk reactions,, or even concerted effors by an articulate or oppurtunistic movement. The constitution can be altered by a prescibed method, whereby 3/4ths of the congress, senate, and state legislature agree over a prescribed amount of time to so alter it.

    We need justices that can disagree with a particularity of the constitution but wiegh that with the fact that only the prescibed manor of alteration can affect the constitution. It is my beleif that as horrendous as firearms can be,,, we need to allow law abiding citizens to have them. Otherwise they will be considered criminal for having a firearm to protect themselves,,, when an ever growing criminal element disregards the gun laws,,, protect us from the public opinion that threatens the constitution. In NY I can not own a handgun unless I lie, and state that I want it for target practice.. I cannot get a permit for a handgun if I state I want it for protection from criminals.. I hope, as I pray to the greek god of hand guns,,, give me the legal right to have one!unconstitutional.

  • redefiler||

    Guns can be very dangerous... but technically you might use breathing air to commit crimes as well.

    It's also an undisputed fact that all violent criminals have used oxygen to commit their crimes. If only a law could be created to limit oxygen, then all crime could be reduced.

  • ||

    Cars are dangerous, too.

  • ||

    Dammit, can we pretend I didn't say that?

  • ||

    But unlike equal protection or freedom of speech, Stevens says, "firearms have a fundamentally ambivalent relationship to liberty." How so? "Just as they can help homeowners defend their families and property from intruders," he explains, "they can help thugs and insurrectionists murder innocent victims."

    What Stevens is pointing out is absolutely true but absolutely irrelevant. I mean, it's not like the Framers were somehow unaware that guns are dangerous, and can be abused -- sure, it took a lot longer to load a gun and shoot someone in their day, but gunshots were also much, much more consistently fatal.

    And yet -- AND YET -- they included the Second Amendment in the Constitution anyway.

    The consequentialist arguments against the Second Amendment might be appropriate to make if you were writing a constitution, but not by a judge. The decision about whether this is a right really worth insisting on has already been made, and nobody asked Stevens' and Breyers' opinions.

  • ||

    "Those options are also foreclosed by constitutional provisions that apply to the states by way of the 14th Amendment."

    NO! They are foreclosed by the court's interpretation of the 14th Amendment which led to the doctrine of incorporation. Phony Baloney.

  • ||

    "In their dissenting opinions, Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer (joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) worry that overturning gun control laws undermines democracy. If "the people" want to ban handguns, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives."

    ANY SCOTUS judge whop would write that filth should be removed for treason and/or complete and absolute ignorance. We have a REPUBLIC with a CONSTITUTION to PREVENT "The People" from voting away the rights detailed WITHIN the Constitution. This is the WHOLE PURPOSE of the SCOTUS, to PROTECT those rights FROM a majority opinion.

  • ||

    I love this article! It brings to focus the fact that the reasons that the 4 justices give for dissenting are both lies and are frivolous. As you say, they would never give these reasons to say that the 1st Amendment should not apply to cities, states, and individuals. According to their logic (or rather, lack of it), if a locality wanted to ignore the Amendment that makes slavery illegal, that could be done also!

  • ||

    Have to say that I'm in favor of gun regulations, but agree with the arguments in this column. Those are weak Scotus arguments, though I haven't read the case yet to see if those are just the easy pickings.

    One caveat: all of that it true IF there is an individual right to bear arms, which is a very recent SCt position. Historically, that opening clause in the 2nd A has been assumed to place a qualifier on the right to own guns.

    We shouldn't go so far as to ignore that the special qualifier exists, which isn't the case for the other more clear cut amendments.

  • ||

    Actually, the confusion attempting to attribute the initial phrase as a qualifier on the RKBA is fairly recent.

    A great read on this is the US Appeals Court for DC ruling in the Heller case.

    http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov.....-7041a.pdf

    Basically, it demonstrates that the amendment was written to ensure the right the colonists had under english common law to keep and bear arms would not be infringed by the new government. The initial phrase is not a qualifier. A custom in writing at the time was to provide an example of a benefit of course of action/law. Hence, the initial phrase simply states that the militia will benefit from the existing RKBA not being infringed. The Appeals Court ruling, which was upheld by SCOTUS, shows the existing right which was not to be infringed on was an individual right for self-defense, hunting and oppose government tyrrany.
    "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
    protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right
    existed prior to the formation of the new government under the
    Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for
    activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
    understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
    depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
    abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the
    important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the
    citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient
    for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to
    placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right
    facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be
    barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth
    for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second
    Amendment’s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects
    are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s
    enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or
    intermittent enrollment in the militia."

  • ||

    Supremes worried about democracy when they are charge to defend a constitutional republic and individual rights. No wonder we're in so much trouble, it's all rotting from the inside out.

  • ||

    Summed up most succinctly. Distilled to its pure essence, this is indeed what is causing so many depredations against our liberties on the part of all three branches of government.

  • ||

    You mean they make the case against natural rights.

  • ||

    Bingo.

  • ||

    war is bad
    guns are icky
    my vaginas'
    warm & sticky

  • ||

    The day the SCOTUS votes against gun ownership for individuals it will be like declaring war and Revolution 2.0 will officially commence. The judges voting for this would be signing their own death certificates. You can SAY anything you want that does not make it so and so long as people have a gun the final say will never reside with 9 Harvard smucks who can't fucking understand a couple of simple words.

    That Wise FATINA Sotomayouraliar with her BS confirmation hearing. Whats the point of the hearing exactly when you can just lie your fat ass off and never be held to account when you do! Now all THREE Branches of Government are flooded with nothing but lying scum. That does not bode well for anyone checking and balancing anything except what lies they are going to get on point to tell the people.

  • Jim||

    Just substitute one word.
    If "the people" want to ban abortion, they say, "the people" should be allowed to implement that desire through their elected representatives.

  • Dunkelzahn||

    It's a lovely argument, with the exception of single glaring point; the constitution does not guarantee anything resembling a right to private gun ownership. It guarantees the right to maintain an orderly militia, principally to defend against foreign powers. Meh. It makes sense for the time; we were a young nation with no real army to speak of. Even if the holdouts among you want to imagine in your heart of hearts that the constitution guarantees a right to gun ownership in order to oppose tyrannies rained down upon you by federal government, ask how well poorly trained insurgents (with much better weapons than yours, I might add) are doing in Iraq. You can't fight the U.S. armed forces; you lost that capability around 1861, as the South learned to her detriment. All of this talk of revolution is honestly a bit sad. Perhaps the South will rise again, and we'll just put that dog back down again.

  • ||

    A great read on this is the US Appeals Court for DC ruling in the Heller case.

    http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov.....-7041a.pdf

    I've read thousands of decisions and found the argumentation and the writing in that case to be unpersuasive. Sounded like too much eager law clerk and too little judiciousness for my taste.

    They don't seem to explain why the 2nd A doesn't simply say:
    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    A constitutional right to go hunting?
    Really?
    A constitutional right to protect your person and private property?
    Hmm...
    But if so, why can't you keep the arms with you at all times to protect your person at all times?

    Seems pretty clear to me that the right to keep a firearm was bound up with the notion of state militias and a check on exclusive federal possession of weapons.

  • ||

    They don't seem to explain why the 2nd A doesn't simply say:
    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    And you don't explain why it doesn't simply say "The powers of the United States government and that of the several states to maintain militias shall not be infringed."

    Anyone who does not believe that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right should answer these questions for himself:

    1. All the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights are specifically enumerating rights that individuals retain and which cannot be usurped. Why suddenly stick in a power of the state?

    2. If "the right of the people" in relation to the right to keep and bear arms really means "the power of the several states' governments", is that the case in the First Amendment? It's not "the right of the people peaceably to assemble", but "the power of the several states' governments peaceably to assemble"? If "the people" means "the states", then why is a distinction made between them in the Tenth Amendment?

    3. What does "militia" mean? What did it mean in 1776? Does the US Code's definition of the militia to include all able-bodied male citizens between 17 and 45 years of age have any bearing on this argument?

    4. Why would an amendment be needed to preserve the power of the states to maintain militias? Was that even in dispute? If not, then why bother to include it?

    5. What about James Madison's ruminations about unfounded (as he saw) fears of the federal government's amassing of a large military and overwhelming the states thereby, in The Federalist Papers: No. 46? In trying to dispel this fear, he notes that government-supported armed forces cannot exceed 1% of the entire population. Therefore:

    This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.

    Whence this half-million, if state-supported armed forces cannot exceed 1% of the population? How can the states support armed forces equal to 16% of their populations? Hint: The "citizens with arms in their hands" have arms in their hands because the state government did not provide them--they have them of their own right and property.

    Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...

    Is Madison above arguing that almost no other nation has a military? Or is he saying that Americans are almost alone in having the individual right to keep and bear arms?

    Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

    And above, Madison, the author of the Second Amendment, makes it crystal clear that there is a solid difference between governmental armed forces and "the people". "The people" are individual citizens, and comprise "the militia" outside of any state or federal involvement. "The militia" can be of such a size because no state needs to supply its arms, training, or pay. Individual citizens keep and bear arms. States maintain armies, not militias.

  • ||

    Pithecanthropus,
    Well, having read all of the briefs (including amici, the lower court decisions and the SCOTUS decisions) I just completely disagree with you. MGD has touched very lightly on the exceptionally thorough and detailed arguments in the Heller (DC) and Mcdonald (Chicago)cases.
    What mostly covinced me was the tortured, twisted and inconsistent arguments the dissenting opinions applied in order to invoke 2A as a collective right. To arrive there, the dissenters truly do a 180 in interpretation of the constitution compared to how it is applied to the rest of the bill of rights.
    Now, whether there should be a 2A proteciting individual rights is a different argument, I.E. is it time to amend the constitution? But if we're going to use different standards in interepreting different amendments, and twist the constitutions meaning over time-- than the document is meaningless. And that leaves all of our rights unprotected as they can simply be reinterpreted out of existence.

  • D.Brooks||

    You do not have to be a professional to use this camera. I have taken excellent pictures in the auto mode! I will use the other settings as I learn more about the camera. cmos digital sale

  • surpa shoes||

    Customer Service - What is it worth to you? You can email us 24x7! Our represnetative. will reply you in 24 hours. You can check our tracking page, and seehttp://www.suprashoesfans.com hundreds of orders which we have delivered.Now you can Google most of http://www.suprashoesfans.comthese other places and see they have histories of not providing products or having terrible customer service.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement