Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oy! My Head This Week From All the Supreme Court Decisions

So, as anticipated, with the end of term approaching, the Supreme Court has been releasing its decisions in the most controversial cases. Since I have to actually try and work (more so since I just got back from a little trip) I am still putting my thoughts together on some of the cases that picque my interest.

However, I saw today that the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in District of Columbia v. Heller. Essentially, the majority held that there is an individual right to gun ownership and that blanket bans such as the ones in the District of Columbia are unconstitutional.

Now, I am not a gunowner. When I read the 2nd Amendment, I see that there is a provision for a well-regulated militia and an individual right of the people to bear arms so that there is a militia. However, I am also some one who lives in the 21st Century and realize that well regulated militias no longer drill on the town green ever few weeks before heading off to the tavern for a few pints of beer (which the locality would pay for usually in exchange for showing up for the drill).

Therefore, it would seem that the Court got this one right (I'll tell you more when I finish reading the opinion). However, this does not mean an end to gun regulation.

Now, some people would tell you that any regulation on firearm ownership is just wrong. But I think there is an opportunity to do some things that would both respect the rights of gun owners and assuage fears on the left of guns flooding the streets.

My initial response is to propose that there be some additions to the state statutes. One of them making it a felony to lose control of a weapon that is stored that does not have a trigger lock. Another would be a statute making it per se negligence to own a firearm without first attending a firearms safety course. You want to exercise your right to have a weapon, fine, you have to be responsible for it.

Most gun owners I know are actually very responsible people about their weapons. However, I do remember some idiots from when I was growing up. I think the goal, when it comes to personal ownership of firearms, should be to make sure that people understand the gravity of exercising that right, not trying to prohibit them from exercising it.

Of course, this could all change after I finish the decision and dissent.

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