Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heller Decision In - Pretty Good!

Neither the 2nd Amendment, nor the Bill of Rights, were particularly trashed by the Supreme Court today. That's about as uplifting as 'good news' gets these days. The Washington Post report's first paragraph says a lot:
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.
Well, thank goodness for the affirmation of the 2nd Amendment! As I stated earlier today, my understanding of the Constitution is that it is a document that limits government and affirms individual rights. So, gun laws such as DC's should be smacked down.

I'm tired of splits along ideological lines. Interpreting the Constitution shouldn't come down to ideology. Either the document conveys a right or it does not. Either it limits government or it does not. Don't get me wrong- I'm glad the 2nd Amendment was affirmed. This kind of affirmation, and this kind of Supreme Court, simply is going to return results based on the whim of nine robed individuals, which means, the process of nominating new Justices will be just as political and stupid as it has been for the past 25 years or so.

Now, this is only pretty good news, though, because within the majority decision, this concession could be found:
Scalia wrote that the Constitution leaves the District a number of options for combating the problem of handgun violence, "including some measures regulating handguns."
So, DC only 'went too far'. You can bet that DC will write a new law banning handguns, with language that 'goes far enough'.

I can see that in certain states, where language isn't strongly in affirmation of the right to keep and bear arms, that bans that only 'go far enough', will be deemed Constitutional. Indiana could easily enough be one such state. Here's the language on firearms, as such- Article 12:

Section 1. A militia shall be provided and shall consist of all persons over the age of seventeen (17) years, except those persons who may be exempted by the laws of the United States or of this state. The militia may be divided into active and inactive classes and consist of such military organizations as may be provided by law.(History: As Amended November 3, 1936; November 5, 1974).
Section 2. The Governor is Commander-in-Chief of the militia and other military forces of this state.(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).
Section 3. There shall be an Adjutant General, who shall be appointed by the Governor.(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).
Section 4. No person, conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, shall be compelled to do so in the militia.(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).
That's it. Nothing clear at all. Militia? What militia?

Ohio's language is exceptionally crisp, and therefore, better. Article 1, Section 4:

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
On the practical side, there were people in DC, including Mayor Adrien Fenty, gathered in protest of the decision, some holding signs suggesting that firearm bans make for safer streets. Talk about being guided by blind dogmatism. The DC law was passed in 1976. Has DC been anyone's idea of a safe place, where gun violence is unheard of, in the last 32 years? Bwaahahaha.

Update: How come I couldn't find Article 1, Section 32 when looking up the Indiana Constitution on the Indiana Gov't website? Seems curious, no? When you search the Indiana gov't website and type "Indiana Constitution" into the search window, you get a link to Article 1, Sections 1-16 only.

Thanks, Roberta X, for the link to IU's site with the full text!


Roberta X said...

Mike, Indiana Constitution, Art. 1, Section 32. The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.

Found here.

Unless I'm overlooking something, it appears unequivocal.

Mike Kole said...

Thanks for the info. That is unequivocal. Funny- but doing a search on doesn't turn up a full text of the IN Constitution. Er, maybe that's not so funny...