Gun Rights and the Supreme Court

A 2008 Supreme Court decision definitively ruled that the Second Amendment provides the right for an individual to keep a weapon in his home. The argument that individuals cannot own weapons has been settled. It is a clear constitutional right.

Some politicians, however, are seeking to ban some weapons, and others are trying to add conditions and prerequisites to gun ownership.

A recent case on appeal to the Supreme Court involved a ban imposed by Highland Park, IL, prohibiting AR-15s and AK-47s, defining as assault weapons semiautomatic guns that have high-capacity magazines. Highland Park is not alone, as seven states, including Maryland, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, have similar bans.

The Highland Park ban was appealed to the Supreme Court, which recently declined to review whether cities and states may prohibit these high-capacity assault weapons.

Guns and assault weapons in particular are a subject of sensitive political debate. There is no doubt they are troublesome, especially in light of the prevalence of mass shootings.

The problem with narrowing a constitutional right is illustrated by the Middle Eastern proverb: “Do not allow a camel to put his nose under the edge of your tent, for soon you will have a camel in your tent.”

When will we learn that attacking the method—assault weapons—will do nothing to confront the real problem—evil?

The largest mass murder in the United States was committed with bombs (The Bath School Disaster). Haven’t they always been illegal?