Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

I am trying to get excited one way or the other about the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller that upholds a personal right to firearms:

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the landmark 5-to-4 decision, said the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.” ... But the court held that the individual right to possess a gun “for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” is not unlimited. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Justice Scalia wrote. ... “The court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Yawn. Much as I hate to agree with anything the troglodyte Antonin Scalia has written, I just don't care very much about guns or gun rights or gun control, and never really have.

Indeed, I'm not even sure I do agree with Scalia; I'm not even interested enough to read the opinion beyond the snippets presented in the Times article (which makes it sound, correctly or not, like a question-begging muddle: you can keep and bear arms except when you can't, which is where I thought we already were). I may or may not circle back and read the dissents, and don't expect to form a strong opinion if I do.



Laura said...

Years ago when I was single and living in Manhattan, I thought it might be a good idea for me to get a gun. Colin Ferguson, the shooter on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993, made it easy for me to imagine packing heat in order to defend myself should another gun-toting rage-aholic decide to take down mass transit. Of course I knew I wouldn't be able to get a permit to carry, but I could dream, couldn't I?

So off I went to the shooting range for target practice. No sooner had I gotten a few shots off, but I was terrified. Guns are heavy, loud, and have quite a kickback.

My feeling is you can legislate gun control, but more and stricter laws won't prevent criminals from obtaining them.

mikesdak said...

It's true that the Court didn't come out and set specific conditions for gun possession for everyone, but that's not what they were trying to do. They were ruling on the DC gun laws, which as I understand were very restrictive.

Eventually there will be other cases regarding less restrictive laws which the Court will have to rule on, and eventually parameters will be set. It's similar to the game on The Price is Right where the contestant guesses a number and is told if the actual price is higher or lower, then guesses again.

Dale said...

Laura, it's good that you were able to be honest with yourself about it all. I think a lot of people carry guns with a very inflated sense of their own bravery and skill, and much tragedy flows from that.

Mike, thanks for putting it in terms of the Price is Right. Together with MASH and the Carol Burnett show, my childhood is not imaginable without it. Seriously. It's a problem. ;-)