Thursday, June 26, 2008

When the bullshit hits the bone

Antonin Scalia's Second Amendment:

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.
Even so, the D.C. ordinance was too broad a restriction.

My view: The Second Amendment's purpose is to vest in the people enough power to forestall both invasion and coup d'etat. For that purpose, the people individually and collectively have the right to arm themselves, but the regulation clause allows reasonable restrictions consistent with the purpose.

This means there's no bright line, and we'll have to continue to argue about it for a long time. If I want an RPG launcher to defend myself against the (mythical) black helicopters, well, that's still illegal, though I hear they're readily available in Baghdad.

What's to be done to keep people from killing each other? Handgun - or all firearm - registration would be consistent with my interpretation. That would drive the gun nuts crazy, especially if Obama wins, and for sheer entertainment value, I would recommend it as a next step in D.C. (Of course, since Congress has final Constitutional authority over D.C.'s laws, if local officials passed this, they'd probably get their 35-year-old home rule revoked in a hurry.)

It'll be interesting to see what happens to gun crime rates this summer and fall. And, when I say 'interesting', I mean from a safe distance. But it is clear that the ban hasn't been, ahem, 100% effective up to now. The question is whether we'll find out that it used to be 50% effective.


Mike W. said...

"What's to be done to keep people from killing each other? "

Absolutely nothing, aside from separating those who kill from the rest of society.

Men have killed eachother since the beginning of time. Focusing efforts on firearms, or any other tool they happen to use, will never prove effective.

Also, If you'd read the decision you'd see Scalia didn't erase the militia clause. He actually explained how the 2 clauses fit together. "well-regulated" in 18th century english did not mean what we take it to mean now. It meant "well trained" and "well armed."

Read the Federalist papers some day. They make this abundantly clear.

Mike W. said...

"registration would be consistent with my interpretation. "

There's more than ample historical proof that registration of arms is consistent with confiscation. In fact the British attempt to confiscate arms from the colonists is what sparked the Revolutionary War.

The only country that implemented registration but didn't confiscate privately owned arms was Canada. They scrapped the registry before it was finished because it was costing the government millions.

Mike W. said...

Sorry - said millions meant to say BILLIONS.