Thursday, June 26, 2008

2nd Amendment: An Individual right


The Supreme Court has ruled that the second amendment is an individual right.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Silent on central questions of gun control for two centuries, the Supreme Court found its voice Thursday in a decision affirming the right to have guns for self-defense in the home and addressing a constitutional riddle almost as old as the republic over what it means to say the people may keep and bear arms.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and imperiled similar prohibitions in other cities, Chicago and San Francisco among them. Federal gun restrictions, however, were expected to remain largely intact.

You can read the full decision here. Note that it's a 157 page .pdf. While large in size, it's also an interesting read.

From my reading of it, the Court seems to be saying that:
  • The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own firearms.
  • People have a right to defend themselves.
  • Handguns are a valid tool for self defense, and banning handguns violates the Constitution.
  • Some restrictions, such as those preventing felons and the insane from own firearms, are legal.

Note that I'm not a lawyer. I don't even play one on the internet.

The 5-4 margin worries me, but overall it's a good decision.

Congrats America!

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