Jun 17, 2009

A Second Review for the Second Amendment

In its 2008 Heller decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Second Amendment gives individuals a personal right to keep and bear arms.  But Heller didn't decide whether the Second Amendment affects state and local gun control laws, and lower court decisions decided since Heller have reached conflicting results.  Thus, look for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue another major gun control ruling later this year or in 2010.

You'd think that the issue would trouble political conservatives, including those who are Supreme Court justices.  They are generally for states' rights, meaning that they support the power of states and localities to determine policies for themselves.  But most are also for gun rights, and a decision that the Second Amendment applies to the state and local governments would impinge on their ability to determine gun control policies for themselves. 

I'm guessing that the conservative justices' antipathy to gun control will outweigh their mantra that States Know Best.  Look for a decision that the Second Amendment applies to all gun control laws.  Such a decision would guarantee lots of future court activity, as judges will be called upon to decide which gun control laws the Second Amendment allows.