Your View: Let’s see what Justice Antonin Scalia said about assault weapons

Gun Rights

It’s easy for Charles Thomas to take shots at me for things I didn’t say. I did NOT say, as he suggests, that the Second Amendment protects only the use of firearms in existence in the 18th century. I said, as did Justice Antonin Scalia in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Second Amendment protects only the sorts of weapons in common use when the Second Amendment was adopted. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Scalia states that the 18th-century militia would have been formed from a pool of citizens using their own weapons that were in common use at the time for self-defense and protection of home. (Heller, p. 52) I quote Scalia: “We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected [by the Second Amendment] were those ‘in common use at the time.’ We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’” (Heller, p. 55) Further, Scalia suggests that military-style weapons that were later developed and were not the sorts of weapons possessed by the citizenry in 1791 are not necessarily protected by the Second Amendment. Specifically, Scalia mentions machine guns and M-16 rifles. (Heller, p. 52, 55) And, as for David taking […]

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