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by Peter Moskos

July 28, 2014

Gun Rights

This recent decision in DC saying there is right to carry is actually bigger news than you'd think. Why? Because up till now you did not have that right.

This decision asserts constitutional rights beyond what the Supreme Court has ever ruled. The Court said that the government cannot prevent you from having a gun in your home for protections. But that's it. Now this was a huge decision because, for the first time ever, the Court, in Heller and McDonald, ruled that the 2nd Amendment indeed does give an individual a right to bear arms.

This wasn't the intention of the Founding Fathers and has never been the case in US history, but what is good for the (liberal) goose is good for the (conservative) gander. I have no problem with the Court expanding our rights (or more correctly: limited the rights of the government). The 9th Amendment says this explicitly (though this Amendment, for reasons I do not understand, is rarely invoked in Court opinions).

Still, given those Supreme Court decision, the government could regulate ammo, the kinds of gun, and everything about guns in public. But even with those restrictions, Heller and McDonald were landmark cases that re-interpreted and expanded the 2nd Amendment. But all they said is that regulations could not prevent, again, you from having a handgun in your home for protection. That's it. But it was huge.

But now a lower court has said you, my fellow American, have a constitutional right to carry a gun in public. That is a huge expansion of the the core rights of the 2nd Amendment. We'll see if it stands.


doggercise said...

When the Constitution was written, most people didn't have firearms. A household might have have one. and these were front end powder loaded muskets and pistols. Firing one came with the implicit understanding that you are a sitting duck for the 15 to 60 seconds it takes to reload another single shot. Most people did not have the disposeable income to buy a firearm most of the time, and if they did it could take them months to find one for sale.

PCM said...

Historically true, but contemporarily, in terms of the Law on the Land as determined by the Court, irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Yes, well, there is quite a difference between a 'Shall Issue' permit regime and the ' May Issue' regulatory regime in states such as Maryland.

At least until now, the Federal courts have upheld the quite restrictive and arbitrary issue of carry permits in 'May Issue' states, as long as there is some mechanism available for issue of carry permits to some few who qualify.

Anonymous said...

Ehh - one more comment.

doggercise - your comment seems to be taken straight out of the highly questionable research and publication of Michael Bellesiles in 'Arming America'. Part truth, part flimsy assertion. front stuffers are slow. yes, otherwise -

Several researchers profoundly disagree with his methodology and conclusions regarding firearm prevalence and availability in Colonial America.

PCM said...

But the Supreme Court has *never* recognized any individual right to carry. But now the federal courts are saying there is a constitutional right to carry, based on recent Court decisions. Somehow this square will have to be circled....

Anonymous said...

It will be squared through the 'subject to reasonable regulation' parts of the Heller/McDonald opinions.

As to what is reasonable regulation, we will see. It will be run through the courts, eventually. As I mentioned previously, the Federal bench in Maryland has overruled the lower Federal court on this one - the lower court said there is a constitutional right to carry and Maryland law didn't pass muster, the next step - forget whether it was en banc or a step up the ladder - said Maryland's current restrictive carry law passed constitutional muster. Of course, as I am approaching 60 years of age, i might could be misremembering. BTW, I have no particular personal desire to carry, at least in most circumstances. If I did a lot of business or lived in Baltimore, I might see things differently.

My main personal beef is with the absolute Federal felony disqualifier for mere firearms ownership - as nowadays it seems as if spitting on the sidewalk is approaching felony status in some jurisdictions, and with the absurd Federal drug user disqualifier, especially regarding marijuana use. Hell, you might recall that until a few years ago, simple possession of a joint in Sin State- Nevada- was a felony. If you got caught - no guns forever.

doggercise said...


I read biographies of people like thomas jefferson, william henry harrison, aaron burr, and alexander hamilton. The parts about the revolutionary war frequently mention relying on France for guns and money to buy guns. the parts about our new nation frequently mention state militias, and the people showing up for state militia practice not having serviceable firearms.

Anonymous said...

The author writes, "This wasn't the intention of the Founding Fathers and has never been the case in US history, but what is good for the (liberal) goose is good for the (conservative) gander.
Of course the author is no position to make this statement, quite the reverse has been accepted as the standard legal position, even by liberal Law Profs.
The author may not like it, but he has no historical leg to stand on, and if he would like to do some reading he might revise his opinion... Certainly he could start with McDonald vs Chicago, as he seems frozen at the Heller ruling.

PCM said...

Please. You might be right. Educate me. How did McDonald change things vis a vis Heller?

Anonymous said...

PCM, you expect to be re-educated in a few words?
The onus is on you, You have shown nowhere in you writings that you have any expertise on this matter, and neither your entry and almost non of the comments contain much fact.
The reading is available to you for free on the Web. If you make such historical pronouncements, when you have no bona fides to do so, it's up to you to put up evidence or shut up.
Your status as a associate or adjunct cuts no ice. Rather it requires you to fact check before pontificating.

Moskos said...

I was hoping. Hope against hope. Thanks for nothing.