Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Gun owners had their day in court on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the DC v. Heller case, which involves a challenge to the DC gun ban.
Absent some world-shaking surprise, it is pretty clear that there are five votes on the Supreme Court to declare that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
That fact alone should be enough to settle the argument over gun control and protect gun owners' rights. But as we all know, that's where the battle over the meaning of the Second Amendment begins.
More to the point, Justice John Paul Stevens asked Alan Gura, the attorney for Dick Heller, if it would be proper to say that the right protected in the Second Amendment shall not be "unreasonably infringed"?
To our shock and horror, Gura answered "yes." He did qualify his answer somewhat by saying "we don't know" exactly what this "unreasonable standard looks like." But he conceded a significant amount of ground with his answer, because any ban would be "reasonable" to Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady.
Truth be told, we do have a proper standard for interpreting the Second Amendment. The language doesn't say anything about "reasonable" or "unreasonable;" it simply says the right of the people "shall not be infringed." It's a shame that even people on "our side" don’t fully understand that.
That's why when USA Today looked at all the briefs which had been submitted, the editors decided to use GOA for the opposing voice in today's editorial. The editors told our attorneys that GOA had an argument that was distinctive.
Indeed we do. GOA's brief says:
[T]he argument that "the right of the people" is subject to reasonable regulation and restriction tramples on the very words of the Second Amendment, reading the phrase -- "shall not be infringed" -- as if it read "shall be subject only to reasonable regulation to achieve public safety." "Public safety" is frequently a canard that tyrants hide behind to justify their oppressive policies. Writing in USA Today, our attorneys Herbert Titus and William Olson stated:
No government deprives its citizens of rights without asserting that its actions are "reasonable" and "necessary" for high-sounding reasons such as "public safety." A right that can be regulated is no right at all, only a temporary privilege dependent upon the good will of the very government officials that such right is designed to constrain.