Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The NY Times' Concern for Gun Control

In its editorial today, The New York Times urges the Supreme Court to incorporate the remaining Bill of Rights using the Privileges and Immunities Clause (I'd rather use Due Process but that's another issue) while upholding most gun control laws. I'd welcome a ruling that recognizes each and every sane and law abiding citizen's right to bear arms and see no contradiction between upholding that right and restricting the sale to to mentally stable, law abiding citizens who pass a background check and a standardized firearms course. The editorial writers, however, are contradicting themselves because they freely admitted their disappointment when the conservative majority on the Supreme Court overturned the capital district's law banning the sale and possession of handguns. They can't both, urge the Court to incorporate the Bill of Rights (which includes the Second Amendment) and disagree with the Court's prior decision to strike down a provision of the capital district's gun law. (Unless of course, they are resigned to the outcome). By incorporating the right to bear arms, the Supreme Court would be protecting the individual gun owner from the state and local municipalities as well as the federal government.

Again, I'd welcome a ruling that broadens our protections from gun bans imposed by the states and local municipalities. If the Second Amendment is to mean anything, it must be interpreted to protect an individual's right to bear arms. Claiming, as some who support gun regulations do, that it was designed to protect the state militias' right to bear arms means nothing since the militias that were around during colonial times were comprised of ordinary citizens and not, as they are now, agents of the state.

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