The NYT, the Supreme Court and Heller

The NY Times, unsurprisingly, is aghast at the Supreme Court’s ruling on Heller.

Some excerpts:

In a radical break from 70 years of Supreme Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a “militia.”

Did you catch that little beauty? It isn’t the 70 years of Supreme Court precedent that matters (if it did, Dred Scott would still be in effect), it’s what the Constitution means. And for the rest of American history, up too that 70 years, there was very little if any doubt the 2nd Amendment was an individual right.

This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country.

This is just pure hyperventilation on the part of the Times. The city in question, Washington DC , for 15 of the 29 years the gun ban has been in effect, has ranked 1st or 2nd among the top 50 cities for murder, and ranked 4th for 4 more years.

It has consistently had a higher murder rate than the surrounding states. And it had one of the most restrictive gun control laws on the books.

Again, as with most who see this as some sort of license to kill which has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public, the NYT doesn’t understand that criminals aren’t going to obey the law. This was demonstrated in DC while the law was in effect. Hopefully, if there will be any rise in the gun related death rate due to this ruling, it well be among criminals.

There already is a national glut of firearms: estimates run between 193 million and 250 million guns.

This particular line argues pretty persuasively that the number of guns out there isn’t the problem. We seem to have almost a gun a person in the country and yet the number of fire arms deaths a year remain at about 0.0001 of the population. Again, the usual bankrupt argument which never, in fact, supports the premise of “more guns equals more violence”.

Overturning that law, the court’s 5-to-4 decision says that individuals have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense. But that’s a sharp reversal for the court: as early as 1939, it made clear that the Second Amendment only protects the right of people to carry guns for military use in a militia.

What it actually means is that 5 of the Justices interpreted the Constitution as it was intended to be interpreted, not as the government would prefer it was interpreted. And it overturned 70 years of bad precedent.

To even begin to argue that any amendment among the first 8 in the bill of rights was there to confer power on government (such as to form militias) is ludicrous on its face. As Charles Rice points out in “Understanding the Bill of Rights“, “[t]he first eight amendments to the Bill of Rights were intended by the First Congress and by the states that approved them to protect the specified rights against invasion by the federal government.” (1991, University Press of Virginia).

Finding the right to be an individual right and not one that empowers government is the proper finding.

That last part is the final indignity of the decision: when the justices go to work at the Supreme Court, guns will still be banned. When most Americans show up at their own jobs, they will not have that protection.

DC – murder capital – what protection has that law provided to those murdered by guns in DC to this point? None. The restrictive gun control law in DC didn’t protect a single person murdered by a gun there in its 29 years of existence.

Not one.

And that brings us to the real reason for the editorial:

This audaciously harmful decision, which hands the far right a victory it has sought for decades, is a powerful reminder of why voters need to have the Supreme Court firmly in mind when they vote for the president this fall.

Senator John McCain has said he would appoint justices like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito — both of whom supported this decision. If the court is allowed to tip even further to the far right, there will be even more damage done to the rights and the safety of Americans.

The fact that over 90% of Americans consider the 2nd Amendment to confer an individual right is irrelevant to the NY Times. As an elite institution, it would prefer to see the rabble under control.

This isn’t about “rights and safety”. It’s about an agenda. If you want to see that agenda implemented, either legislatively or via the judiciary, then follow the advice of the Times. You can see precisely where they’d have it go. And your rights, such that they are, would be under assault from day 1.

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