Later than everyone, but I’m on vacation

My initial thoughts on the Heller decision…

There was little doubt, I think, that the court would rule for Heller. The decision was closer than I would have hoped, in my back-of-the-mind, fourth-grade desire to believe that justices could be apolitical and logical. How a college-educated, experienced jurist could possibly believe that the Bill of Rights invokes collective rights just floors me.

The other thing that floors me is the DC reaction. While I don’t know much about how the average Joe in DC (if there is such a thing) thinks, I do know how the holier-than-thou politicians think Chief Lanier will push for the absolutely most restrictive laws possible – she’s already said so – and thus is in effect saying she’s willing to put the city through suit after suit after suit as the strength of “reasonable” restriction gets defined. Attorney General Nickles (is he still acting AG?) has gone on record as determined to require trigger locks, though the court said requiring weapons to be unloaded and locked is too restrictive.

I suppose the city just can’t wait for the fact to be brought out that trigger locks are easily defeated. Perhaps they’ll use that as part of their argument – since they’re so easily defeated they don’t really render a weapon “unusable” – and thus a loaded weapon is sufficient. Of course, YouTube videos have proven some trigger locks can be defeated in seconds, but someone who needs that weapon to defend his life might not have seconds available. A trigger lock that can’t be defeated as easily (if one were developed) is also a deterrent to a law-abiding citizen being able to defend himself in his home.

The court held that it is unconstitutional to require legal weapons to be unloaded and disabled. But Acting Attorney General Nickles says any solution they arrive at will include trigger locks. What part of “unconstitutional” and “disabled” does he not understand?

Nickles also said “There are going to have to be some special provisions about how you transport handguns to the police station for registration…” Why would one have to transport a handgun to register it? You needn’t drive a car to the DMV to register it.

Lanier states while the rules are being drafted, police officers who find handguns in residents’ homes will “use their discretion” about whether to arrest the owners. But if someone has a handgun in his home, it’s not illegal, right now. There are no registration rules, so “unregistered handguns” is meaningless. When the inevitable registration is instituted, it will affect only those who choose to obey the law (got that, DC government?)

I’m certain whatever the District comes up with will be just as logical as their previous stance – no one who uses a gun in self-defense in the home would be charged with a criminal violation. Of course, you’re a felon up until the time you need it, so if you never (thankfully) need the weapon, you live in defiance of the law. What a moral choice.

Lawyer Levy said it best “The District may not attempt to solve its crime problems by violating the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

And on that point, Justice Stevens showed his regard for the American people – putting the term “law-abiding, responsible citizen[n]” in quotations, as if he doesn’t believe such a thing exists. While I admit to wondering myself whether such a creature exists in DC, my innate faith in mankind says there must be a few such. Stevens apparently doesn’t believe so. His statement: “Today judicial craftsmen have confidently asserted that a policy choice that denies a “law-abiding, responsible citizen[n]” the right to keep and use weapons in the home for self-defense is ‘off the table.’” says several things, none of which are logical. It says a law-abiding, responsible citizen couldn’t possibly want a firearm. It asserts the right to bear arms is in fact a policy decision. And it implies the Supreme Court is crafting something which doesn’t exist. I honestly cannot see the logic in his statements. I just can’t see it.

Justice Breyer indicated he might retire?? Well, in addition to the stupid comment about the constitution applying differently depending on where you live, he also said “…the decision threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States. I can find no sound legal basis for launching the courts on so formidable and potentially dangerous a mission.” If he doesn’t want to do his job – determining the constitutionality of laws – he must want to retire.

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Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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