US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

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US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Actus Reus » Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:55 am

More crazy fun from our zany neighbours to the south:

U.S. Supreme Court upholds gun rights


June 26, 2008
MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "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.''

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks.

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.''

He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found.''

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.''

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

The capital's gun law was among the nation's strictest.

Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his home for protection in the same Capitol Hill neighborhood as the court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller's favor and struck down Washington's handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right.

The issue caused a split within the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.

Scalia said nothing in Thursday's ruling should "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.''

The law adopted by Washington's city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. Shotguns and rifles may be kept in homes, if they are registered, kept unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.

Opponents of the law have said it prevents residents from defending themselves. The Washington government says no one would be prosecuted for a gun law violation in cases of self-defense.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby SPC » Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:20 pm

I wonder if this will end what is basically a prohibition on owning handguns in places like New York City, and Hawaii.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Bald Man » Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:52 pm

SPC wrote:I wonder if this will end what is basically a prohibition on owning handguns in places like New York City, and Hawaii.


This did come down from the US Supreme Court. This is the highest court in the USA so I would think this would supercede any local or state laws.

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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby SPC » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:46 pm

Bald Man wrote:
SPC wrote:I wonder if this will end what is basically a prohibition on owning handguns in places like New York City, and Hawaii.


This did come down from the US Supreme Court. This is the highest court in the USA so I would think this would supercede any local or state laws.


Thanks Captain Obvious. My point was that although DC has an outright ban on acquiring handguns, places like New York City, and Hawaii, basically ban handgun ownership, although they do it through denial of permits, etc.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Bitterman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:56 pm

Actus Reus wrote:More crazy fun from our zany neighbours to the south:


:roll:
Yeah... totally insane that regular people be allowed to have inalienable rights of any kind...
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Actus Reus » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:23 pm

No, it's totally insane that a supposedly advanced society should be using a 200 year old piece of paper to allow its citizens to kill each other with a weapon that should only be in the hands of the miltary or law enforcement. Most of Europe has outlawed private ownership of handguns, and they seem to be getting along just fine without an 'inalienable' right to bear arms.

I really wouldn't care one way or the other, as long as the problem stayed on the southern side of the 49th parallel. But until we can dig a 50-foot deep moat filled with electric eels and poison alligators around this country, we're going to feel the effects up here of flawed US thinking in the form of smuggled crime guns and wannabe NRA-ers.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby SPC » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:03 pm

Actus Reus wrote:No, it's totally insane that a supposedly advanced society should be using a 200 year old piece of paper to allow its citizens to kill each other with a weapon that should only be in the hands of the miltary or law enforcement.


I spent two days this week travelling with my "weapon that should only be in the hands of the military or law enforcement", went to the range, transported it back to my house, all without having an urge to kill a fellow citizen with it.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Actus Reus » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:21 pm

I spent two days this week travelling with my "weapon that should only be in the hands of the military or law enforcement", went to the range, transported it back to my house, all without having an urge to kill a fellow citizen with it.


The simple fact that you have a handgun in your house or in your car increases the risk to me and my family. No gun-safe is fool proof, no lock box is 100% effective. You may be a relatively responsible handgun owner, but you cannot give me an absolute guarantee that someone is not going to break into your house or car and steal your gun. Nor can you completely reassure me that you won't inadvertenly leave your gun safe open and that your 8 year old kid or your drunk brother-in-law won't get his hands on your 9 mm and do something stupid.

The only way that I will change my mind is if biometric trigger locks (eg. handprint recognition built into the gun itself) become mandatory on all privately owned and properly registered weapons. But that's just me,
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Rob » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:57 pm

Actus Reus wrote:
I spent two days this week travelling with my "weapon that should only be in the hands of the military or law enforcement", went to the range, transported it back to my house, all without having an urge to kill a fellow citizen with it.


The simple fact that you have a handgun in your house or in your car increases the risk to me and my family. No gun-safe is fool proof, no lock box is 100% effective. You may be a relatively responsible handgun owner, but you cannot give me an absolute guarantee that someone is not going to break into your house or car and steal your gun. Nor can you completely reassure me that you won't inadvertenly leave your gun safe open and that your 8 year old kid or your drunk brother-in-law won't get his hands on your 9 mm and do something stupid.

The only way that I will change my mind is if biometric trigger locks (eg. handprint recognition built into the gun itself) become mandatory on all privately owned and properly registered weapons. But that's just me,

“You may be a responsible vehicle owner but can you guarantee that someone won't steal your car and run me or my family over in a marked crosswalk, or you leave it unlocked and your 8 year old kid or drunken brother in law gets the keys and does something stupid.”

It's a weak argument and the fact that someone owns a handgun increases the risk to your family is nothing but liberal paranoia. Maybe if the courts dealt with gun offences, you know the ones already in the Criminal Code, then maybe it would not be such a problem.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Bitterman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:41 pm

Actus Reus wrote:No, it's totally insane that a supposedly advanced society should be using a 200 year old piece of paper to allow its citizens to kill each other with a weapon that should only be in the hands of the miltary or law enforcement.


Typical liberal elitest position...
That same 200 year old piece of paper also gives people the right to free speach, freedom of religion, freedom of the press etc.

Frankly, the notion that only the gov't should have access to weapons is far scarrier than private citizens having the right to own 'em.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Bald Man » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:42 pm

Weapons offences should be straight indictable offences. Straight up indictable would be a start and would force our courts to take a harder line. Manditory sentences would be ideal. I don't think the courts should have the discretion they have to proceed by summary conviction. With liberals at the wheel, our justice system is bound to take a wrong turn..

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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Actus Reus » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:34 am

Typical liberal elitest position...
That same 200 year old piece of paper also gives people the right to free speach, freedom of religion, freedom of the press etc.

Frankly, the notion that only the gov't should have access to weapons is far scarrier than private citizens having the right to own 'em.


Hmmm....last time I checked, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Australia, and dozens of other countries all had free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc. The other thing they had was a ban or severe restrictions on private handgun ownership.

The argument that free speech and freedom of religion is dependant upon an armed population is absolutely ridiculous. On the other hand, you reap what you sew, and the US has certainly seen that at Columbine, Waco, Ruby Ridge and Virginia Tech.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby SPC » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:52 am

Actus Reus wrote:The simple fact that you have a handgun in your house or in your car increases the risk to me and my family. No gun-safe is fool proof, no lock box is 100% effective. You may be a relatively responsible handgun owner, but you cannot give me an absolute guarantee that someone is not going to break into your house or car and steal your gun.


Like the others who posted above stated, should we also ban my shotgun, rifle, pocket knife, penknife, vehicle and lawnmower?? It is a weak argument

Actus Reus wrote:Nor can you completely reassure me that you won't inadvertenly leave your gun safe open and that your 8 year old kid or your drunk brother-in-law won't get his hands on your 9 mm and do something stupid.


Yes, actually, I can. Come on Actus, give me a break :roll:

Actus Reus wrote:The only way that I will change my mind is if biometric trigger locks (eg. handprint recognition built into the gun itself) become mandatory on all privately owned and properly registered weapons. But that's just me,


But how can you be completely reassured that my drunk brother-in-law won't cut off my hand or fingers, and gain access to my implement of death that way?

actus reus wrote:Hmmm....last time I checked, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Australia, and dozens of other countries all had free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc. The other thing they had was a ban or severe restrictions on private handgun ownership.


You also forgot to mention that the UK also had was an almost 3 fold increase in crimes in which handguns have caused injury, from 279 in 1996, the year the ban was implemented, to 779 in 2004/2005. In fact, other than one year, the statistics have shown increased use of, and injuries/death caused by, handguns, ones which are supposedly not to exist in the UK!! Also, in 1998, UK had 2687 crimes recorded in which a handgun was used, in 2004 it was 5144!!
Last edited by SPC on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby SPC » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:55 am

Bald Man wrote:Weapons offences should be straight indictable offences. Straight up indictable would be a start and would force our courts to take a harder line. Manditory sentences would be ideal. I don't think the courts should have the discretion they have to proceed by summary conviction. With liberals at the wheel, our justice system is bound to take a wrong turn..


Since when do Judges have the ability to decide to proceed by Summary Conviction? Last time I checked, at least here on the Left coast, crown makes that decision.
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Re: US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Own Handguns

Postby Jim Street » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:57 am

Handguns weren't always, or even necessarily, responsible for the deaths at Columbine or Virginia Tech. Kimveer Gill at Dawson College did not use a handgun, he used a legally purchased assault rifle. The Waco and Ruby Ridge debacles are completely different issues in my opinion, started by extremists.

While I agree that the proliferation of handguns (and high powered assault rifles) makes it easier for criminals and psychopaths to commit firearms related offences, it's not the ONLY reason. It's obviously a far reaching debate because in the States gun manufacturers and the NRA are misleading the public that tighter gun restrictions would eventually lead to a ban. Canada does not have the same gun culture, but I don't agree that more restrictions or bans should be put in place here, the current registry is a joke anyway.

I have no problem with restrictions on who should be sold the guns but I'd be a fool to say banning them altogether would eliminate their use in crime. Drugs are "banned" too right?
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