The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a sweeping ban on handguns in the nation’s capital violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The justices voted 5-4 against the ban, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.
At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether Washington’s ban violated the right to “keep and bear arms” by preventing individuals — as opposed to state militias — from having guns in their homes.
“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security and where gun violence is a serious problem,” Scalia wrote. “That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”
I guess the way I am reading this ruling is that it is akin to Roe v. Wade for gun rights, essentially. The right to own a gun is reaffirmed, and what remains now for gun control advocates will consist of nipping around the margins much like the “reasonable restrictions” on abortion. Is that way off base, or would a comparison to the PA abortion decision (Casey?)a few years ago be a better fit?
At any rate, Kennedy was once again the swing vote, and it seems to me that anyone who thinks this is the Chief Justice Roberts’s Supreme Court is sadly mistaken. This is the Kennedy court, because he is the only one that matters.