Is the Supreme Court on the verge of revoking gun control?
A Chicago handgun ban has been in place for 28 years. That may be long enough as far as the Supreme Court is concerned. The highest court in America appears “likely to extend the federal right to own guns to state and local governments,” reports Reuters. This sentiment is not universal among justices, however. The conservative and liberal factions are considering how to extend a 2008 ruling that extended to individuals in every state and city the federal right to own handguns. If laws are liberalized, one wonders whether the payday cash industry will see more business right before gun shows come to town.
“Does everyone have the right to carry firearms in public?” asks Supreme Court
Justices are questioning whether the right to bear arms should extend beyond the home for all Americans, not simply those in states with more open gun laws. The Constitution grants the right to bear arms, but dissenting justices are seeking to define what “reasonable firearm regulations” should mean. Gun advocates are eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment going forward. A test to determine reasonable regulations will be a significant piece of that puzzle.
Federal law versus state law
Justice John Paul Stevens has wondered whether the Supreme Court turning down an outright ban on handguns in 2008 opened the door to grant individuals the right to carry guns in the streets. According to Reuters, Justice Stephen Breyer asked civil rights attorney Alan Gura (who represents four Chicago-area residents and two gun rights groups) how Chicago’s existing anti-handgun legislation (which the city claims saves hundreds of lives) should be pitted against the move toward greater gun freedom.
What’s the NRA’s stance?
NRA representative Paul Clement made the argument that matters would be simpler if federal and state laws on handguns were the same. This could of course renew the concern of those parties who have lamented the general loss of state’s rights in favor of federal law since the aftermath of the Civil War. But without running too far afield here, the arguments in favor of laws “within the tradition” that Illinois claims has saved lives simply won’t go away.
“It’s either there or not”
Justice Antonin Scalia said that in proceedings, which means that a desire to interpret the Second Amendment quite literally exists in the Supreme Court. Justice John Roberts agrees, but made the distinction that “the political process which could allow some regulation or restrictions” should remain in place. That likely means background checks, waiting periods and the like, but I’m no expert. Reuters points out that the 2008 ruling did not make it easier for felons or the mentally ill from obtaining handguns, however; neither did it make bringing guns into schools and government buildings acceptable. It seems clear that any new stance on a citizen’s right to bear a handgun outside the home will not overlook such issues.
Gun control will continue to be a divisive issue in society
It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides. It sounds to me that efforts are being made to maintain reasonable boundaries. In spite of that, the issue of guns in public should always be treated with proper caution. Opening up gun laws would be considered a real pay day by the gun lobby, but the public safety must always be the primary concern. Remember, Americans do have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Public safety makes that possible for each of us.