Thursday, June 26, 2008

SCOTUS overturns DC gun ban - local connection

The Supreme Court overturned Washington DC's sweeping ban on handguns today, ruling that the 2nd amendment applies not just to "state militias" but to individuals who wish to own guns.

This is an interesting ruling in light of a recent home invasion robbery in Tulsa that turned deadly when the intruder used the couple's own handgun against them.

Alright, I won't extrapolate that one incident into a screed against the right to own handguns, as I once would have. But it is a cautionary tale. A handgun in the house is much more likely to be used against the owner of the gun than against an intruder.

I don't know. I've always been conflicted about the 2nd amendment. Back in my radical days, I favored abolishing the 2nd amendment completely, not realizing that doing so would disband the National Guard.

The civil libertarian in me wants people to have the right to own guns, but the social democrat concerned with the common good wants to make sure that the right to own guns doesn't cause unnecessary risk to public safety. I tend to lean toward Howard Dean's 2004 campaign position: let the states make their own gun laws, but have federal laws in place to ban assault weapons and require background checks and other public safety measures. I believe today's Supreme Court ruling allows for that kind of a compromise.

God, I'm agreeing with a Scalia ruling? Shudder.