Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Strike Two

Having largely embarrassed themselves on December 5, 2015 with their bone headed editorial about gun control, the NYT editorial board strikes again today here.

They are all ecstatic about the Supreme Court passing on taking up a case of local law prohibiting mean looking semi-auto weapons.

It was the 70th time since 2008 that the Supreme Court has declined to consider a lawsuit challenging a federal, state or local gun regulation. This creates a big opportunity for Americans to put pressure on their state and local leaders, especially since Congress refuses to approve even uncontroversial measures like universal background checks for gun sales, which are supported by nearly nine in 10 Americans. Until that changes, states and cities have the constitutional authority and moral obligation to protect the public from the scourge of gun violence.

I think their joy is misplaced for two reasons. First and least, they are misinterpreting the decision of the Court. It's far more likely that the Justices voting not to take up the case did so, not because they think the gun banning law in question is hunky dory, but because the Circuit Courts of Appeal have not yet split on a gun banning law.

Second, and more importantly, passing a gun law and having it make any difference to the evil it is designed to ameliorate are two very different things. There is, of course, the old age and insoluable problem that only the law abiding obey gun control legislation while criminals ignore them. But lately, not even the law abiding are obeying stupid, useless gun ban legislation. Behold.

It isn’t even St. Patrick’s Day, but we are all Irish now: In Connecticut, the boneheaded state government passed a law demanding the registration of certain firearms, and the people of Connecticut, perhaps communing for a moment with their independent-minded Yankee forebears, mainly refused to comply. On the other side of the country in the heart of California’s technology corridor, the city of Sunnyvale demanded that residents hand over all firearms capable of accepting magazines holding more than ten rounds — effectively, everything except revolvers and some single-shot rifles — and the good men and women of Silicon Valley responded by turning in a grand total of zero firearms. Similar initiatives in other jurisdictions have produced similar results.
So perhaps the NYT needn't put the champagne on ice just yet.

The Supreme Court has been more than clear, on more than one occasion, that the Second Amendment says what it means and means what it says. We also have a long legal and constitutional tradition that prohibits stripping people of their civil rights — including their Second Amendment rights — without due process, generally in the form of an indictment and a trial and a conviction. If the Democrats want to do away with the Second Amendment, let them begin the amendment process and see how far they get. We should challenge them to do so at every opportunity.
 To paraphrase what a great American once said in a movie: "Repeal the Second Amendment? Go ahead, make my day."

There is kind of a downside to the editorial in the NYT, however, in that it quotes Justice Scalia's dicta in Heller as follows:

Like most rights,” Justice Scalia wrote, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” He continued, “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms” — “prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”

I hadn't remembered how sloppy Scalia got here. He seems to give the judicial OK to gun free zones and he seems OK with the 1986 ban on full auto weapons in private hands. That stings a bit. But look how stupid Scalia can be--the government can constitutionally prohibit the carrying of dangerous weapons? What? All weapons are dangerous; it's the whole point. If by unusual he means "of no use to the militia" echoing the Miller decision, I'd feel a little better, but everyone and his brother sees this as the judicial OK to ban weapons which are completely useful to the militia. That ain't so good. The requirements of full auto ownership dictated by the 1934 act have been wholly successful. In 80 years only two such weapons (and maybe only one, it's hard to tell) owned pursuant to the law have been used in a crime. That's a success story we should revel in. The 1986 ban made it so only the elite could own these weapons as the law of supply and demand created an artificial spike in the cost of the grandfathered full- auto weapons. I hate it when the government for no good reason screws up a good thing and messes with free enterprise.


thank you for sharing
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