Supreme Court lets stand law banning some semi-automatic assault weapons
As reported on CNN, the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand Connecticut’s assault weapons restrictions, is the latest indication that courts recognize that common sense life-saving gun laws are fully compatible with the Second Amendment. This time, the Supreme Court got it right.
Today, Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter, reported that The Supreme Court declined today (6/20/2016) to take up a constitutional challenge to a Connecticut gun law passed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The law bans certain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
Appellate courts can act very affirmatively even by doing nothing. By declining to review the Connecticut law, it essentially said we are not ready to rule that the gun ban law is wrong. The only stronger statement would be for the Supreme Court to accept the appeal, and affirm the law. With an eight person Court, perhaps the risk of a tie was in the minds of the Justices.
To me, the inquiry is not whether there is a right to own (“bear”) weapons. It is one of what kinds of weapons fall under the guarantees of the Second Amendment. That amendment does not say one may bear arms of any type whatsoever. In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that the amendment allows the federal government and states to limit weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174. That means tanks and cannons can be outlawed. The 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller guaranteed the right to possess not only military type firearms, but personal (e.g. hand guns) types as well.
It would seem common sense that the United States, with its outlier rate of gun deaths amongst the developed world, needs to pull back the reins on its out of control gun usage. Nobody is even debating the right to possess the rifle of the type the National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed to protect. The NRA should change its name, as it spends the vast majority of its efforts and lobby funds on the right to possess assault rifles, large capacity “banana” clips and hand guns.
Perhaps there will be some movement in Congress on this issue this week – in light of the Orlando (Florida) massacre. But I doubt it. It isn’t that “American loves its guns.” Because it really doesn’t. The June 13/14 CBS News Poll shows 57% of Americans would like stricter gun laws. It is that America’s politicians currently are not leaders; they seek self-preservation, and preservation of Party. So we look to the less political body ~ The US Supreme Court for leadership on this issue, as we have throughout our history, such as during the civil rights movement.