SULLUM: The Second Amendment ‘has become optional’

SULLUM: The Second Amendment ‘has become optional’

Sullum is a syndicated newspaper columnist with Creators Syndicate and a Senior Editor at Reason magazine. That stark disparity reflects a failure noted by critics on and off the Court. After waiting more than two centuries to acknowledge that the Second Amendment imposes limits on legislation, the Court has passed up dozens of opportunities to clarify the extent of those limits, leaving the task to lower courts that are often hostile to gun rights. District of Columbia v. Heller, decided on June 26, 2008, overturned a handgun ban in the nation’s capital, finding it inconsistent with the Second Amendment right to use firearms for self-defense. Two years later, the Court overturned a similar law in Chicago, confirming that the Second Amendment constrains states and cities as well as the federal government. Aside from those two landmark decisions, the Court has enforced the Second Amendment in just one case. In 2016, it ruled that the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts had flouted Heller when it upheld that state’s ban on stun guns based on the mistaken premise that the Second Amendment applies only to militarily useful weapons that were in common use when it was enacted. That is far from the only time a court has reached a conclusion that seems inconsistent with what the Court has said about the Second Amendment. “Most federal judges have not accepted Heller,” Alan Gura, the lawyer who argued the case, recently told Tom Gresham on the radio show Gun Talk. “They have taken […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.