Supreme Court strikes down DC gun ban

From the WaPo:

The Supreme Court, splitting along ideological lines, today declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns for self-defense, striking down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun ownership as unconstitutional.

The 5 to 4 decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia represented a monumental change in federal jurisprudence and went beyond what the Bush administration had counseled. It said that the government may impose some restrictions on gun ownership, but that the District's strictest-in-the-nation ban went too far under any interpretation.

Scalia wrote that the Constitution leaves the District a number of options for combating the problem of handgun violence, "including some measures regulating handguns."

"But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table," he continued. "These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home."

The court also held unconstitutional the requirement that shotguns and rifles be kept disassembled or unloaded or outfitted with a trigger lock. The court called it a "prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

Lot of wiggle room it seems.

Pic from Yahoo via AFP/Tim Sloan:

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Precarious rights

The ruling itself is satisfying. The slim 5/4 majority is disappointing, as is the ideological split. All it takes is one replacement of a conservative by a liberal and we can potentially lose the right we just gained. Those who treasure their gun rights may hope for a Republican President from now until forever.

The ideological splits that I recall seeing in the past on major issues as well as now suggest that ideology and not sound legal reasoning is what decides these issues - the legal reasoning we see in the opinions is mere rationalization of a decision the justices wanted to arrive at for ideological reasons.

For now, though, I have reason to celebrate.

Yeah, certain issues bring

Yeah, certain issues bring out ideology. Were I a Justice, I'd be embarassed.

Liked the protest poster

"If guns kill people do pens misspell words?"

Clever. I never saw that before, I'm going to use that.

Just to Give Credit Where It's Due

I believe that quip first came from Larry the Cable Guy's standup.