Since the tragedy in Newtown, CT, the topic of “assault weapons” has been hotly debated – anti-gun folks have been framing their arguments around feelings and “need”, and many of us on the pro-gun side of the equation have been framing our arguments around logic, statistics and liberty. The two sides will of course never completely agree, but here’s a different angle: is an “assault weapon” ban, the thing that the anti-gun crowd wants most, even legal?
I readÂ an article today that gave in-depth look at the constitutionalityÂ of a ban on semiautomatic weapons (also known as “assault weapons” to the uneducated).Â This is a topic that hasn’t been covered all that well, though we’ve discussed it here on Monderno briefly as have others. The article is well worth your time to read, but for those of you in a hurry, here are some of the highlights as well as my thoughts on the matter.
Second Amendment Protection and Limits
Virtually everyone agrees that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms (virtually everyone, but there’s a batty, vocal minority that doesn’t), and the Supreme Court agrees. SeeÂ District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) andÂ McDonald v. Chicago (2010) for great examples.
However, there is precedent for limiting the Second Amendment, and those limits have been found to be constitutional. The topic of limits usually comes up when an anti-gunner who thinks they are particularly clever (most of them do in my experience) says “do you think you should be able to own nuclear weapons?” or something equally ridiculous. I’m sure most of you can relate.
So what limits are constitutional?
The short version is probably what you would expect: it’s left up to the interpretation of the court. If you read the article and the opinions of the aforementioned supreme court cases, weapons that are not “in common use” and are “especially dangerous” can be lawfully restricted. This is the problem we face – who determines what is “common” or “especially dangerous”? At the end of the day, Supreme Court Justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, will make this determination.
So would an “assault weapon” ban be Constitutional? The answer is maybe, all it takes is the right number of liberal Supreme Court Justices.
With that said, now it’s time to offend some of you (hey, it’s Tuesday, what did you expect?). Our right to legally keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment, which has in the past been open to interpretation,Â and will be again in the future. There’s no question that gun control is a liberal issue. So what does gun control need in order to succeed at a national level? One or two more liberal Supreme Court Justices. That’s it.
The fact of the matter is that whether you like it or not, voting for Democrats in Presidential and Congressional elections will eventually lead to more gun control at a national level (this usually goes for the state level as well). Justices retire, they are replaced, and the makeup of the Supreme Court can shift. Those of you who vote Democrat for whatever reason need to keep this in mind. It doesn’t matter what lie is told during their campaign about being pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment (Obama 2008 anyone?), we all know where that train leads.
I don’t care how many “free”Â Pop-Tarts they are promising you, voting for them will eventually lead to the Second Amendment being redefined.Â You want to be able to legally keep and bear arms? Vote like it.