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Supreme Court Holds Right to Bear Arms Applies to Individuals

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the founders'-rolling-speed-reduced-slightly dept.

The Courts 2221

Now.Imperfect writes "In its last day of session, the Supreme Court has definitively clarified the meaning of the Second Amendment. The confusion is whether the Second Amendment allows merely for the existence of a state militia, or the private ownership of guns. This ruling is in response to a case regarding the 32-year-old Washington DC ban on guns." This is one of the most-watched Supreme Court cases in a long time, and Wikipedia's page on the case gives a good overview; the actual text of the decision (PDF) runs to 157 pages, but the holding is summarized in the first three. There are certainly other aspects of the Second Amendment left unaddressed, however, so you can't go straight to the store for a recently made automatic rifle.

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2221 comments

Sweet (5, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 6 years ago | (#23951831)

Now they can address more pressing issues. Like the right to bare chests.

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about 6 years ago | (#23951947)

Or the right to arm bears.

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#23952047)

Or the right to arm bears.
Man, that used to be so much funnier before reading His Dark Materials.

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#23951955)

*Imagines the average slashdotter topless*
MY EYES! MY EYES!!

Re:Sweet (1)

Lord_Frederick (642312) | about 6 years ago | (#23952017)

Easy there tiger. /rawr

Re:Sweet (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952023)

The average /.r is male, and we are already allowed to bare chests. Thankfully, we don't go outside much, so other /.rs dont have to see our bare chests all that much. We are also sociophobic, so we don't have enough friends to take pics of us and put them online too.

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#23952133)

Thankfully, we don't go outside much

My point exactly: Lack of natural light = blindingly white skin. Then there are the moobs (man boobs) to deal with. :P

Re:Sweet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23951977)

that's just the kind of thing a nigger would say. are you a nigger? because you sound like a nigger.

Re:Sweet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952145)

Move to Ontario.

Re:Sweet (1)

mjpaci (33725) | about 6 years ago | (#23952329)

On a serious note...women in NYC have that right.

Oh great... (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | about 6 years ago | (#23951861)

Now we get to hear from a bunch of people who normally bitch about the government taking away individual freedoms try to justify their hypocrisy while they argue for gun control, and how the supreme court wasn't thinking of the children...

Re:Oh great... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 6 years ago | (#23951985)

Indeed. We will also hear those for whom the Second is the only Amendment that matters telling us that torture, wiretapping, and disregard of habeas corpus telling us that it's okay as long as we get to keep our guns. IOW, there's plenty of hypocrisy to go around here, spread across the political spectrum.

Re:Oh great... (5, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | about 6 years ago | (#23952167)

The annoying part is when the government starts acting this way is when you may actually need the those guns.

Re:Oh great... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 6 years ago | (#23952319)

Agreed, but the problem is getting enough of the gun owners to agree that things are Bad Enough. As I wrote in a friend's LJ entry (talking about state-by-state differences in gun laws, and how the "Red" areas of the country generally have much more liberal gun laws than the "Blue" areas) not long ago:

The problem, and it's a big one, is that most of the Deep Red gun owners show no motivation to defend themselves against the current most likely form of tyranny in America. UN black helicopters? They're locked, cocked, and ready to rock. But US green helicopters? Peachy keen. Go USA! Get them eeevil terrists!

These are the people who elected Bush. Twice. If you think they're going to stand up for traditional American liberties when freaks like us are being dragged off to Gitmo, you're not paying attention.

Also, while an armed populace that's sufficiently pissed off to rebel may indeed be the final option in the case of governmental tyranny, it's not a solution anyone should hope for. Civil wars are ugly, ugly things, and we should try every possible legal solution before resorting to blood in the streets.

Re:Oh great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952107)

Or you'll hear from those of us who agree with this decision by SCotUS, still usually bitch about the government taking away freedoms, and don't give a flying fuck about the children.

o hai!

Re:Oh great... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952129)

It's not hypocrisy, if you look at the constitution no where does it say that there is an unlimited right to bare arms. The second amendment doesn't state that non-militia weapons can't be regulated.

This is just an act of judicial activism, sort of like when the SCOTUS decided that the votes of the people of Florida were not as valuable as those in other parts of the nation, and refused to set precedence.

In fact, justice Souter, IIRC, stated that there's no evidence of any sort that the framers of the US constitution meant for arms to be completely unregulated.

Banning handguns is something which is sensible when the crime rate gets as high as it is in certain portions of the country. Handguns are easily concealed and can as such deserved special attention from regulations.

Saying that guns don't kill people, people kill people, is bullshit. Show me an instant when a person killed a person with a gun when they didn't have a gun. Show me an instance where an accidental discharge of an unloaded trigger locked gun happened. You can't because it doesn't happen.

While the UK has proven pretty definitively that complete bans of all forms of firearms does not work, there is absolutely no reason why banning certain types of firearms in areas like Philadelphia or DC is a bad idea.

Re:Oh great... (3, Informative)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 6 years ago | (#23952297)

You mean that "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" part? Infringe

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infringe [merriam-webster.com]

transitive verb1: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another

Re:Oh great... (5, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 6 years ago | (#23952185)

Some of us, who favor gun control, do not have any problem whatsoever with this decision. It seems like a perfectly reasonable view of the constitution as written. Trying to say otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

What I question is the constitution itself: Is the right to bear arms really a key element to protest against excessive government control? India didn't gain their independence through guns. Today, we don't need them.

On the other hand, the right of privacy, not clearly stated in the American constitution, is necessary, and should be added. There was no need for it in the 1800s, if just because it was impossible to violate with their technology. It was pretty easy to keep the content of your conversations private: don't talk near a government official. Today, you can be snooped on alone in your home, over a phone, or on the internet. Technology has created a new issue, that deserves a constitutional amendment. Some European countries with constitutions that came after the telephone do cover the right of privacy explicitly. To become a freer country, America must follow their lead.

Re:Oh great... (-1, Flamebait)

megaditto (982598) | about 6 years ago | (#23952285)

Well, this decision was reached 5-4.

In other words, we were one liberal kooky judge away from getting royally shafted... The fact that a decision of this magnitude came down to a single person is nothing to celebrate, I tell you.

In contrast, the "right" of a mother to kill her fetus was upheld 7 to 2.

fuck yes (1)

Doddman (953998) | about 6 years ago | (#23951865)

It's good to see that the Constitution still means something.

Re:fuck yes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952015)

The SCOTUS lost all credibility after the 2000 election and after Bush jammed the court with right wing idealogues. They are just a bunch of political hacks with no integrity.

Re:fuck yes (1)

Doddman (953998) | about 6 years ago | (#23952135)

you can tell yourself that all you want, it doesn't change the fact that the constitution still holds true.

Re:fuck yes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952137)

You could just as well argue that Bush has saved the SCOTUS from degenerating into a puddle of crypto-marxist Priests of the Temples of Syrinx, bent on creating a nice, contented socialist world.
Go, McCain: let's see Fred Thompson as McCain's first nominee.

Re:fuck yes (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#23952117)

It's good to see that the Constitution still means something.

Really? I think that all depends on how one chooses to interpret the second amendment. Let's take a look at the text of the second amendment, shall we?

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.

Exactly which people are to keep and bear Arms? Is it only the people of the Militia? For that matter, what Arms are they to bear? And for what purpose? It specifically mentions the "security of a free State". To whom would this security be against?

Re:f*ck yes (3, Funny)

olyar (591892) | about 6 years ago | (#23952235)

To whom would this security be against?

Our own government. I agree with you that it's not clear what the original intent of that wording was. I've always heard though that one argument for the general public having guns is that its additional check on our government over-stepping its bounds.

That didn't work out so well for the Southerners in the Civil War... but that's a whole other discussion. :)

Re:fuck yes (2, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 6 years ago | (#23952269)

Exactly which people are to keep and bear Arms? Is it only the people of the Militia? For that matter, what Arms are they to bear? And for what purpose? It specifically mentions the "security of a free State". To whom would this security be against?

RTFD [supremecourtus.gov] .

All of your questions are answered, if you choose to listen.

Re:fuck yes (2, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 6 years ago | (#23952305)

The people are the people, same people as the first, fouth, etc. amendments.

According to Miller vs. US (last SCOTUS 2A case, back in '34) ruled that the arms are arms that are common to the times (which is why Miller lost on his sawed off shotgun - they weren't in common military use).

And the security part? Its the security of being Free from a tyrannical government. Believe it or not, there have been armed revolts against The Government here in the US. And not just the Civil War. You may want to read about the Battle of Athens, Tenn. A revolt agains the local government with the underlying issue being Voting Problems (wonder how many remembered that in 2000 and 2004, and if I'll have an excuse to remind 'em in November this year) ...

Re:fuck yes (1)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#23952261)

I beg to differ. [kuro5hin.org]

-mcgrew

Who Goes to the Store for Guns? (1, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | about 6 years ago | (#23951871)

Flea markets are much, much better. No waiting while a background check is performed and absolutely no registration afterward!

Re:Who Goes to the Store for Guns? (2, Interesting)

Scutter (18425) | about 6 years ago | (#23951935)

Flea markets are much, much better. No waiting while a background check is performed and absolutely no registration afterward!

My state has no registration regardless.

Re:Who Goes to the Store for Guns? (2, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | about 6 years ago | (#23952019)

Same here man Hi Five!

Re:Who Goes to the Store for Guns? (0)

geekforhire (300937) | about 6 years ago | (#23952199)

Not true. Even at 'gun shows' any firearm purchases *require* the same federal background check as if you purchased from a store. The 'gun show loophole' simply does not exist....you can not make an end run around state and federal laws by buying a firearm from a gun show.

Re:Who Goes to the Store for Guns? (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#23952245)

So you mean it's like a bazaar instead of a cathedral? :P

Yeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaa! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23951881)

BANG! BANG! BANG!

This is a monumental and historic decision (5, Insightful)

Astro Dr Dave (787433) | about 6 years ago | (#23951883)

I'm glad they made the right decision, but shocked that it was so close (5-4). I'd expect more intellectual honesty from Supreme Court judges.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | about 6 years ago | (#23951965)

I agree, and just want to note that while the decision itself may make gun control less of an issue for the upcoming election, the closeness of the vote on such a salient case will certainly make SCOTUS appointments much more of an issue.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 6 years ago | (#23952337)

SCOTUS reversals of their own decisions are rare, Roe v Wade and many other controversial decisions will stand. With all the mud slinging that will be going on I doubt much focus will be on actual politics or decisions.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (-1, Flamebait)

baldass_newbie (136609) | about 6 years ago | (#23952065)

I'd expect more intellectual honesty from Supreme Court judges.

You're kidding, right? These are the same folks who decided that there was a Federal mandate to allow mothers to kill unborn children, despite it being considered a "state's rights" issue up until Roe v Wade.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (4, Insightful)

The Warlock (701535) | about 6 years ago | (#23952237)

So the right to have an abortion is bullshit whereas the right to own a gun is God-given. Nice personal freedoms, there. Way to go with your own intellectual honesty.

What the hell is with the current collection of issues in the present political divide, anyway? How is "the right to own a gun" on the same team as "ban abortions and gay marriage"? This doesn't make any sense to me.

Among others (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#23952097)

Look at how many other important decisions lately have been 5-4! Like the decision about Habeus Corpus.

I haven't done a comparison, but I wonder if they are the same 5 and 4? If so, maybe we should clean out the court and start again.

Re:Among others (1)

Astro Dr Dave (787433) | about 6 years ago | (#23952289)

No, the majority in Boumadiene v. Bush consisted of the liberal justices (Breyer, Stevens, Souter, and Ginsberg) and Kennedy.

The majority in D.C. v. Heller were the liberal justices (Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas) and Kennedy.

Both decisions were fundamentally good.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (4, Funny)

dirk (87083) | about 6 years ago | (#23952221)

It's so nice to have a new immigrant to our country, how long have you been in the US? One week or two?

Why expect more from liberal judges? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952233)

their agenda is clearly to take power away from the individual and give to the state. The lone exception being abortion, and then they want to meddle in that so minor girls can have them without parental consent.

Whatever hurts, weakens, or debases America, you can bet they are down with it.

Re:This is a monumental and historic decision (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#23952299)

WHile seems obvious to parties that want a specific issue, it's actually very complex. The syntax used in the constitution can be interpreted as only the militia is allowed to bear arms.

I agree with the outcome, but the fact that it was close doesn't surprise me at all.

OTOH, if they ruled the other way, they wuld need to rule on what a militia is in the cnotext of the Constitution.
Reading documents of the time, it seems like anyone could be 'militia'.

Crime rate high? (1, Insightful)

mseidl (828824) | about 6 years ago | (#23951887)

Isn't the crime rate in DC really high anyway? So it seems as if banning guns didn't work.

Re:Crime rate high? (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 6 years ago | (#23951981)

The concealed carry permit in DC was pointless IMHO. The DC Metro literally has service to areas with gun stores (Virginia and Maryland). Thug life types don't get concealed carry permits anyway. All it did was keep the honest people honest and make the NRA types really really angry when they visited the city.

Re:Crime rate high? (1)

Rinisari (521266) | about 6 years ago | (#23951983)

I think that's one of the points pro-gun folks use: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." Law-abiding citizens are left without the means to protect themselves, instead relying on police or other law enforcement authorities to protect the people. The police can't be everywhere where there's crime (yet..Minority Report?). The law-abiding person is unable to ward off assailants, and the crime rate increases because there's not enough deterrent for the criminals--they don't have to worry about getting shot during a crime unless they're attacking other criminals.

Re:Crime rate high? (4, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#23952105)

Yup, there's an old anarchist saying:
"Oh judge, what good are your laws? The bad man will not follow them, and the good man does not need them."

Re:Crime rate high? (5, Insightful)

dch24 (904899) | about 6 years ago | (#23952291)

I prefer one with a source:

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
--Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429


In case you don't see the connection, I'll spell it out: "Oh judge, what good are your laws?" They represent the consensus of the governed. The bad man will not follow them but the government will enforce them. This will always be true.

The good man absolutely does need laws, as the laws spell out what the consensus is, and as long as the rule of law exists, where laws are applied equally and fairly to all the governed, then the good man will accept them if they are acceptable, and will work through legitimate channels if they must be changed.

Or would it make sense to say, "Oh Grocery Store, what good are your prices? The shoplifter will not follow them, and the good shopper does not read them." -- no, of course not.

Re:Crime rate high? (2, Funny)

3t3rn4l (204282) | about 6 years ago | (#23952141)

I think that's one of the points pro-gun folks use: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

If clones are made illegal, only clones will have clones!

Re:Crime rate high? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | about 6 years ago | (#23952287)

Are you trying to say clones aren't people?

Re:Crime rate high? (1)

SBacks (1286786) | about 6 years ago | (#23952147)

If a mugger knew I didn't have a weapon, he'd be happy to take my wallet and leave. If he thought I may have a gun, he might shoot me, then take my wallet and run.

I'd much prefer not having an ability to defend myself than to risk getting shot.

Re:Crime rate high? (1)

ValentineMSmith (670074) | about 6 years ago | (#23952303)

Unless he decides that he'd rather not go to jail for 25 years for armed robbery when you identify him, and he decides to shoot you anyway.

Personally, I'd rather take my chances with a firearm.

Re:Crime rate high? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#23952055)

Ban on guns really don't work. As the old addage goes "if you make own a gun criminal, only criminals will have guns" will hold true. By making guns taboo it give a mystical abaility to it. So if a criminal will need more power then he will get a gun. However knowing that anyone can have a Gun and they know how to use them then the power advantage of having a Gun is reduced, thus going to a store with a Gun to rob the place is fare more risker when everyone else has a gun in the store and you are out gunned.

But what is really missing is proper gun training on how to use it properly take care of it, and treat it with the respect that such a tool deserves.

Without the Gun Ban I could see lower crime with guns (however more accedents).

The melacholy of gun control laws (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | about 6 years ago | (#23951905)

Thank goodness. Gun control laws only keep the honest person honest and defenseless.
Law abiding citizens will obey the law and revoke ownership of guns. Criminals on the other hand already have a mind to break the law, and having a law against guns won't stop them for a second.

Re:The melacholy of gun control laws (2, Insightful)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about 6 years ago | (#23951993)

Or, all it means is that criminals carry guns in the expectation that their victims will also.

Re:The melacholy of gun control laws (5, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | about 6 years ago | (#23952049)

You know what they say: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Re:The melacholy of gun control laws (0)

Thiez (1281866) | about 6 years ago | (#23952239)

If a criminal thinks his victims probably carry a gun, then he must have a gun himselves, therefor in a country without gun control I expect to see a (significantly) larger percentage of criminals who own a gun than in a country without gun control. Also, I'd much rather get robbed because I couldn't defend myself than shot in the firefight that I initiated to protect 'myself' (read: my stuff).

> Criminals on the other hand already have a mind to break the law, and having a law against guns won't stop them for a second.

So what you are saying is that criminals in a country with gun control are just as likely to own a gun as criminals who live in a country without gun control?

How often do these honest citizens of yours need to defend themselves anyway?

Re:The melacholy of gun control laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952251)

Thank goodness.

I'm personally in favour of gun control laws, but even if I were against them, I'd still disagree with this ruling.

The Constitution does not guarantee individuals the right to bear arms. It says that a well-regulated militia can do so for the purpose of defending the state.

If your opinion is that individuals should have the right to bear arms, then pass a constitutional amendment like you are supposed to. But that's not the Supreme Court's job, that's down to a different branch of government entirely.

If you think the wording is ambiguous, then you think the Bill of Rights is badly written, and again, you should pass an amendment clarifying it.

If you think the intention of the founders was to guarantee individuals the right to bear arms, then tough, the law should not be unwritten rules residing in the heads of long-dead people who have no idea about the modern world, the law should be what is written down where everybody can read and criticise it, where a historian's opinion can't change the law.

If you think the meaning of language has changed enough to change the meaning of the Bill of Rights, then, again, you should pass an amendment clarifying it.

What is absolutely unacceptable is to have a law that says one thing, but means another. It leaves things wide open for abuse. To take a pro-gun-rights viewpoint, think about how close you can to having your gun rights revoked. That wouldn't happen if the law was clear.

This kind of ancestor worship the USA has with the founding fathers needs to stop. They weren't perfect. They wrote some silly laws, some badly-worded, ambiguous laws. They had the right ideas for the most part, but to consider their words to be set in stone and immutable is folly. They need fixing, badly. And scattering what the law as implemented is over lots of court decisions rather than having it written down in the Bill of Rights is insane.

Law abiding citizens will obey the law and revoke ownership of guns. Criminals on the other hand already have a mind to break the law, and having a law against guns won't stop them for a second.

Not in the USA, simply because of the pervasiveness of guns. In a society that is not so attached to their guns, yes, it does stop a lot of criminals from obtaining guns. Without a legal gun industry, guns and ammunition are more expensive, harder to obtain and riskier to possess. Taking away gun rights on a state-by-state basis is counter-productive because of the lack of border controls, and taking away guns across the entire USA is infeasible, but the USA is quite unique in these respects. What you say doesn't necessarily hold true in the general case.

Good; Gun "Control" is bad (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#23951907)

Gun Control only serves to take guns out of the hands of people that give a shit about the law.

Lets have more law abiding citizens with guns with the ability to defend themselves against criminals.

Police aren't there to defend you, they are there to arrest people (generally after they commit a crime).

Re:Good; Gun "Control" is bad (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#23952163)

Police aren't there to defend you, they are there to arrest people (generally after they commit a crime).

Why I generally detest police - I can't stand the thought of a person who makes their living putting their fellow man in cages. Period.

Re:Good; Gun "Control" is bad (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 6 years ago | (#23952175)

well, if i don't care about the law anyway and i can assume that my victim owns a firearm, what stops me to shoot first? (except of george lucas, maybe)

Re:Good; Gun "Control" is bad (4, Insightful)

Stevenovitch (1292358) | about 6 years ago | (#23952281)

While I agree in principle with the decision, the argument that gun ownership restriction make the public less safe is ridiculous. It just isn't really supported by the numbers [statemaster.com] . Which show that aside from the few exceptions, in general states with more liberal gun ownership laws tend to have a significantly higher rate of gun deaths. But all of this is completely besides the point because the right to own a gun is stated clearly in the bill of rights and that should be enough. At least of the courage to stand by that fact and not make disingenuous arguments about how it's actually better for society on some vague level.

It's about damn time (5, Informative)

sabre86 (730704) | about 6 years ago | (#23951919)

It has long amazed me how anyone could manage to construe the subordinate clause "A well regulated militia being necessary to a free state," as anything other than an explanation as to why the amendment was being included in the first place. It is clear that this clause is an introduction to the rest of the amendment: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It's an even stronger prohibition on action than the First Amendment's "Congress shall make no law..."

Scalia and co, make this very point in their decision (found at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07slipopinion.html [supremecourtus.gov] -- a wonderful site for Supreme Court decisions. The site, really.):

Held: 1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2-53. (a) The Amendment's prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause's text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2-22. ...

It's dead on.

On a related note, why don't new sites ever link to the actual decision? It makes no sense.

--sabre86

Re:It's about damn time (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about 6 years ago | (#23952075)

What about the fact that it doesn't say "guns", just "arms"? I want my personal nuclear weapons!

Re:It's about damn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952331)

Given that 'arms' means 'a means of offense or defense' according to M-W, and that the constitution allows that which is not explicitly forbidden, one reading is that you can have them if you want.

So, if you happen to acquire one, and you also happen to end up in court because of it, we can get his matter cleared right up.

Re:It's about damn time (3, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#23952211)

Note also that the phrase "well regulated militia being necessary to a free state" was also a throw back to the Declaration of Independence, wherin it states that it is the people's duty to reinstitute a free state if the government becomes oppressive to the ideals under which the free state was originally created.

Re:It's about damn time (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#23952227)

How could anyone?

Its all about power and keeping it. They know that they were perverting it by misinterpretation, but they really didn't care.

Your rights online? (2, Funny)

sugarmotor (621907) | about 6 years ago | (#23951943)

This is obviously not belonging to "Your Rights Online". Stephan

Re:Your rights online? (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | about 6 years ago | (#23952071)

The URL is "yro" which could be construed as "Your Rights Offline"...

Re:Your rights online? (5, Interesting)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#23952171)

This is obviously not belonging to "Your Rights Online".

The second amendment obviously covers online munitions as well, which are known to include cryptography and intrusion detection systems.

automatic weapons (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#23951961)

What's funny (sort of) is how closing the automatic weapon registry made them into such good investments. You can get a full auto weapon, but it'll cost ya.

suddenoutbreakofhoplophobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23951963)

The overall political slant of Slashdot is subtly revealed by the lack of a "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense" tag...

Re:suddenoutbreakofhoplophobia (1)

amliebsch (724858) | about 6 years ago | (#23952025)

What about the "rolling speed reduced" department?

What a moot issue (5, Insightful)

DJ Jones (997846) | about 6 years ago | (#23952013)

The individuals who are going around killing people with hand guns can't get a permit for a gun in the first place. These individuals buy their hand guns on underground black markets; markets that will exist whether hand gun possession is legal or not.

What's the point?

The real intention of the 2nd amendment is to allow citizens to revolt (or at least threaten to). And that is a right that I savor.

Re:What a moot issue (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#23952197)

American citizens are already revolting. They don't need guns for that. ;)

If you ask me, the rationale for gun controls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952033)

...really comes from government failures in so many other areas.

I think most of the calls are the result of urban issues that have nothing to do with guns (or 40's of OE as some would have us believe).

You have urban school districts that suck when consumers of education should have sole choice of what education they get through vouchers, etc.

You have urban governments that chase away legit business with over-regulation and taxation.

You have stupid drug laws that create huge black-market economies in the exact same places you chase away legimate business.

I think much of this creates the decline we see in the urban area and around the world.

Stupid educational policies and drug policies need to be fixed and maybe we can stop blaming the gun objects (and beer objects)

Gun Rights (4, Interesting)

Shajenko42 (627901) | about 6 years ago | (#23952039)

I'm a liberal, but I'm from Texas. Gun rights are about the only opinion I share with the right wing, though likely for different reasons.

There are tons of arguments against guns, such as safety in the home or availability to criminals. But in my mind it comes down to just one thing -

The availability of guns to the general public is the last safeguard against tyrrany. It becomes much easier to fight an oppressive government if you have the weapons to do it with.

And let me preempt a few arguments right here - a few of you might ask how a bunch of rag-tag resisters can fight against the most powerful, technologically advanced military in the world?

For your answer, take one look at Iraq.

Re:Gun Rights (1)

DrFalkyn (102068) | about 6 years ago | (#23952325)

The problem here is that in order to stand up to the military we need alot more than handguns and semi-automatic rifles. I'd say we'd need access to at least a minimum to weapons with full auto capability and probably anti-tank weapons. That would make it pretty difficult for the military to take on the population in cities, at least not without flattening the entire place by bombardment, which would be counterproductive because that would mean destroying the very thing they are attempting to control.

Don't forget the 14th amendment (1)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | about 6 years ago | (#23952061)

Well, this ruling is not the end all of this fight. The ruling explicit states that this is a FEDERAL law, so there still exists a fight to determine if the 2nd amendment is incorporated into the 14th amendment. That is an interesting legal question because the justices who ruled in favor the the second amendment generally do not believe the incorporation doctrine of the 14th amendment is correct, but the dissenting justices do believe in incorporation. SO when the eventual trials form Chicago get tot he courts, the next issue will be to decide if the 2nd amendment is applied to the states through incorporation in the 14th amendment. This put the justices in a weird spot - because those that are in favor of gun rights are against incorporation, which means the second amendment would only apply to individuals in federal territories and that states can limit guns however they want. However, the dissenting justices would rule otherwise that the second amendment would incorporated into the 14th, but this would enforce the 2nd amendment in states, which would be agianst their liking. SO it really depends on the next battle. Will we see judicial activism, or more stick to their principles type rulings. Either way, this is a big win against government domination.

Dissenting opinion - Stevens is an idjit (5, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#23952079)

From the article:

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons." He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

Apparently Stevens needs to learn how to read. Of course the framers wanted to reserve the tools for revolution to the people.

Kansas (4, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 years ago | (#23952083)

Ah, but soon you /can/ get an automatic weapon in Kansas. Starting on 1 July this year, Kansas residents may own automatic weapons, silencers, and sawed-off shotguns.

Re:Kansas (1)

X86BSD (689041) | about 6 years ago | (#23952253)

I live in Wichita and can't wait for that. Silencers, automatic weapons, certain explosives, good times good times.

Constitutional right, not an absolute right (1)

cavis (1283146) | about 6 years ago | (#23952101)

The whole 2nd amendment issue is mired to double-talk and conflicting laws. Although the Supreme Court has made this ruling, you still can't take guns into hospitals, schools, etc. Obviously the states and Washington DC can make their own restrictions, but how can those laws conflict with the constitution?

For the record, I am fairly neutral on the topic.

Re:Constitutional right, not an absolute right (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#23952311)

The whole 2nd amendment issue is mired to double-talk and conflicting laws. Although the Supreme Court has made this ruling, you still can't take guns into hospitals, schools, etc. Obviously the states and Washington DC can make their own restrictions, but how can those laws conflict with the constitution?
I believe the US Constitution addresses this issue quite nicely. From Article VI:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Weird court (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#23952115)

This is a correct decision. Strange thing is, it was decided correctly by the justices that are most often wrong. Just this week, the court handed down another correct decision, barring use of the death penalty in rape cases. The same conservative justices (Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito) that ruled correctly today, dissented in that opinion. It's kind of scary that there's only one justice(Kennedy) that was wise enough to rule correctly in both cases.

But what should I expect? Any court that doesn't immediately move to reverse Wickard v. Filburn [wikipedia.org] obviously doesn't care what the constitution says or means anyway.

ideology behind the gun ban (2, Insightful)

krystar (608153) | about 6 years ago | (#23952127)

it's still funny how these handgun bans are supposed to work. Ok you can go buy an AK47 and a Mossberg 12ga shotgun but you can't buy a 2 shot Derringer because it's a pistol. next up, my hometown Chicago's pistol ban! down with daley!

Brietbart.com? (5, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#23952131)

How about a link to a real newspaper?

here [latimes.com]
here [nytimes.com]
here [cnn.com]
here [foxnews.com] (oops, my bad ;)
here [google.com]
here [reuters.com]
here [washingtonpost.com]
or how about one from a city that is directly impacted by the decision, like here? [chicagotribune.com]

Mayor Daley calls Supreme Court's gun-ban reversal 'a very frightening decision'
High court strikes down Washington D.C. law in ruling that could have Chicago implications
An angry Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday called the Supreme Court's overturning of the Washington D.C. gun ban "a very frightening decision" and vowed to fight vigorously any challenges to Chicago's ban.

The mayor, speaking at a Navy Pier event, said he was sure mayors nationwide, who carry the burden of keeping cities safe, will be outraged by the decision.

Chicago's handgun ban, which has lasted for more than a quarter-century, came under threat earlier in the day when the Supreme Court decided that Washington D.C.'s law against handgun ownership is unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court determined that Americans have the right to own guns for self-defense as well as hunting. The decision, which had been expected, is a win for gun-rights advocates and provides a better definition of the rights of Americans to own firearms.

Illinois gun-rights activists have said they expect to mount a quick legal challenge to the Chicago Weapons Ordinance.

Other city officials said they felt confidant that challenge would fail.

As someone who tries to avoid RTFAs, I was annoyed that the summary dodn't even HINT at what the actual decision was, obviously to drive traffic to the submitter's site.


I'm disappointed in you, timothy. I'm sure there were a lot more submissions than this one. Since this is Thursday, I hereby nominate you as "Aurthur Dent" (Monday is my Dent Day).

Why do I have to <p> on my paragraphs when I've selected "plain old text"??

"you can't go straight to the store" (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#23952159)

"you can't go straight to the store for a recently made automatic rifle"

Thanks for spewing more stereotype nonsence and make what is a very serious statement about our freedom into some sort of joke.

Re:"you can't go straight to the store" (3, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 6 years ago | (#23952225)

Well, he's right - the May '86 law still stands....

Let the Revolution Begin! (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#23952189)

Finally our millions of fellow citizens can protect the security of our free states with guns from all the gross tyrannies perpetrated on us, like the attacks on practically every other Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and all throughout the Constitution. Those guns are our guarantee of liberty, and I expect those people with those guns to get out into the streets right away to fight off the tyrants. Thanks guys!

How Effective are Bear Arms For Home Defence? (4, Funny)

MrSteveSD (801820) | about 6 years ago | (#23952201)

I suppose the claws could cut any intruder up pretty bad, but are they practical?

Lesson from prohibition (1, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 6 years ago | (#23952207)

They knew they couldn't just outlaw alcohol because they didn't have the authority to, so they made a constitutional amendment to do it. Back then, they understood how the constitution worked.

Now, the Supreme Court *almost* put itself in a position to decide if the Constitution was "constitutional" or not. What the heck would have happened if the Constitution was not "constitutional," I'm afraid to know. In fact, that is pretty darn scary.

Now we might even debate if an inalienable right cold be taken away by a Constitutional amendment, but it is, once again, pretty darn scary that everyone just thought they could blatantly ignore the Constitution and get away with it.

Eat it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23952209)

Just like to say, for all you whining nanny state liberals that can't tolerate the nature and history of this country; Eat it. Sit there and stew in anger. Precedent has been set. Matters have been decided. You lose. Take your good intentions and cram it in the orifice of your choice.

Those of you who have yet to escape your welfare state ruined urban neighborhoods go buy a gun. The Feinsteins of this world do not yet rule everything.

Well (1)

Garrick68 (1165999) | about 6 years ago | (#23952217)

I for one welcome our gun toting Overlor.. er Citizens

I like Chris Rock's solution better (0, Troll)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#23952259)

According to Chris Rock [youtube.com] we don't need gun control, we need bullet control.

First hand experience (5, Interesting)

s2jcpete (989386) | about 6 years ago | (#23952301)

I am pretty neutral on the subject, but I can attest to the fact that the gun ban was not working in DC. I lived in the district for a while, and my girlfriend had a gun shoved in her face by a 14 year old for her purse. I don't think he cared about the gun ban.

Individual right to bear military arms (0)

Baldrson (78598) | about 6 years ago | (#23952315)

Following common usage, the framers of the Second Amendment used the phrase "bear arms" to refer to possession of weapons for military use... The best evidence for the Second Amendment meaning of "bear arms" is in the original draft of the Amendment proposed in the First Congress by James Madison: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."

In... the conscientious objector provision, Madison clearly used the phrase "bearing arms" to refer solely to the possession of weapons for military use...

Madison's use of the phrase "bear arms" to refer to military activities is echoed in other contemporary usages... Records of debates in the Continental and U.S. Congresses between 1774 and 1821 [include] 30 uses of the phrase "bear arms" or "bearing arms" (other than in discussing the proposed Second Amendment); in every single one of these uses, the phrase has an unambiguously military meaning...


Source: The Second Amendment Foundation [saf.org]

What will Barak say about this decision? (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | about 6 years ago | (#23952333)

Should be interesting. Barak's got to say something about this decision. It's almost required and were he to say nothing about that decision, well, that would kind of go against his 'openness' and 'change' thing.

There are millions of (especially) rural Democrats who support gun rights. Should be a real tightrope act to avoid pissing off a large part of the electorate no matter no matter which way he goes on this issue.

When Cops Have All The Guns.. (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | about 6 years ago | (#23952341)

Or I should say when Govt. has all the guns.. IT IS A PROBLEM. Why is everyone is such a rush to give away their rights? Liberty is too much responsibility for you?
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