Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The L.A. Times Take on New SCOTUS Gun Control Case

and it's not squarely anti-gun!

L.A. Times:

Supreme Court takes gun case that will test reach of 2nd Amendment

The justices' ruling on whether state and local laws are subject to the 2nd Amendment could open the door to legal challenges nationwide. The ruling on a Chicago handgun ban is expected by summer.

By David G. Savage

7:50 AM PDT, September 30, 2009

Reporting from Washington

The Supreme Court set the stage for a historic ruling on gun rights and the 2nd Amendment by agreeing today to hear a challenge to Chicago's ban on handguns.

At issue is whether state and local gun-control ordinances can be struck down as violating the "right to keep and bear arms" in the 2nd Amendment.

A ruling on the issue, due by next summer, could open the door to legal challenges to various gun control measures in cities and states across the nation.

The case also will decide whether the 2nd Amendment protects a broad constitutional right, similar to the 1st Amendment's right to free speech or the 4th Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In the past, the Supreme Court had given short shrift to the 2nd Amendment by saying it applied only to national laws and that its aim was to preserve "well-regulated militias."

This quite narrow view of the amendment conflicted with the views of most Americans, according to opinion polls.

Last year, the court in a 5-4 decision breathed new life into the amendment by ruling that it protected an individual's right to have a handgun at home for self-defense. The decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller struck down a local ban on handguns.

But since the nation's capital is a federal enclave, the court did not reconsider its 19th century rulings that said the 2nd Amendment applied only to federal laws and restrictions.

Since then, several gun owners have filed new constitutional challenges in several cities, including Chicago and the nearby Village of Oak Park. They lost when judges there said they were bound by the high court's earlier rulings.

But the Supreme Court today said it had voted to hear the appeals from gun owners in Chicago and Oak Park and to decide whether the 2nd Amendment restricts local and state laws as well as national measures.

Lawyers for the gun owners argued that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" set out in the 2nd Amendment is "incorporated" into the 14th Amendment and thereby applies to states and localities.

Lawyers on both sides of the dispute say the gun-rights case revives a once-fierce debate over how to read the Bill of Rights.

Since the 1st Amendment begins with the words, "Congress shall make no law respecting" such matters as an "establishment of religion" or "abridging the freedom of speech," it was understood originally to limit only Congress and the national government. The same was true of the other parts of Bill of Rights.

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution, and it says a state may not "abridge the privileges and immunities" of citizens nor deprive any person of "liberty . . . without due process of law."

In the mid-20th century, the Supreme Court decided, in a step-by-process, that such fundamental rights as the freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion and the freedom from "unreasonable searches" are part of the "liberty" protected by 14th Amendment. These rulings permit constitutional challenges to state and local laws.

The 2nd Amendment was all but ignored by the Court until recently. In their appeal, lawyers for the gun owners say the court should rule either that the right "to keep and bear arms" is a "privilege" of citizenship or is part of the "liberty" protected by the 14th Amendment.

Lawyers for Chicago had urged the court to reject the appeal. They said that easily concealed handguns pose a special danger in cities. "Homicides are most often committed with guns, especially handguns," they said, citing a Justice Department study. The city also said that while nearly all handguns are illegal, residents are permitted to have rifles or shotguns at home for self-defense.

It is not clear whether the court will rule squarely on whether the Chicago ordinance is constitutional. Lawyers for the city proposed that if the justices take up the issue, they rule only on whether the ordinance can be challenged under the 2nd Amendment, and then send the dispute back to Chicago for a trial.

The court said it will set arguments in the Chicago cases for January or February. The cases is McDonald vs. Chicago.


Total said...

Here are two anti-gun bills about to be passed in California:

AB 962 -- Would require that firearms dealers and other vendors of ammunition keep a registry of all buyers of handgun ammunition. The bill would also ban all mail order and Internet sales of handgun ammunition and reloading components.

SB 41-- Would further burden firearms retailers by requiring additional paperwork and documentation on the date of delivery of all firearms to a buyer. This bill equally affects consumers of firearms as the increased dealer costs would be passed along to the purchaser.

The nannies strike again.

Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

At least, in America gun ownership is strictly a matter of freedom. In Israel, however, the government takes guns from Jewish settlers - the pioneers who risk their lives daily moving among Arabs. It is not unusual to find just a single gun on an outpost.