Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Right to Arm Bears

The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments challenging the District of Columbia's ban on pistols. Professor Laurence Tribe recently opined that the court should take a moderate view on the issue.

It is true that some liberal scholars like [myself, Prof. Laurence H. Tribe], having studied the text and history [of the Second Amendment] closely, have concluded, against our political instincts, that the Second Amendment protects more than a collective right to own and use guns in the service of state militias and national guard units. Opponents of the District's flat ban on handgun possession have cited my words to the court and in newspaper editorials in their support.

But nothing I have discovered or written supports an absolute right to possess the weapons of one's choice. The lower court's decision in this case -- the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found the District's ban on concealable handguns in a densely populated area to be unconstitutional -- went overboard. Under any plausible standard of review, a legislature's choice to limit the citizenry to rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence need not, and should not, be viewed as an unconstitutional abridgment of the right of the people to keep or bear arms. |Sanity and the Second Amendment - WSJ|

Of course this leaves aside the question of whether a total ban on pistols is a good idea or has any impact given the differing laws in Virginia and Maryland.

I understand the frustration of citizens who live in the District and can carry pistols while on duty but cannot use them for home defense.

And those citizens should vote with their feet and move to Virginia or Maryland. Or Texas!

Via the Law Librarian Blog.

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