The national debate has once again returned to gun control in the aftermath of the Parkland School Shooting where a violent maniac killed 17 innocent people. Of course, we can continue our bickering behind microphones and on TV cameras, but ultimately, the only decisions will be made in the courts.
Looking to the law, we turn to one of our heroes on the conservative side and that would be the late Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was certifiably a great conservative Supreme Court justice. Never apologetic about his principles, we must ask what did Scalia have to say about the Second Amendment?
A 2008 ruling District of Columbia v. Heller set the parameters for today’s gun control reform to me. In an interview about the decision, Scalia was asked the following:
How far does that constitutional right go? Can a legislature ban semi-automatic weapons or can it ban magazines that carry a hundred rounds without violating an individual’s constitutional right to bear arms?
What the opinion in Heller said is that it will have to be decided in future cases what limitations upon the right to keep and bear arms are permissible. Some undoubtedly are, because there were some. For example, there was a tort called “afrighting”, which if you carried around a really horrible weapon just to scare people like a head axe or something, that was, I believe, a misdemeanor. So yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed. Obviously, the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand carried. It’s to keep and bear. So, it doesn’t apply to cannons, but I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes. That will will have to be decided very carefully. My starting point and probably my ending point will be what limitations are within the understood limitations that the society had at the time. They had some limitations on the nature of arms that could be borne. So, we will see what those limitations are as applied to modern weapon.
Many of you believe we should have no limitations on what weapons we can bear, because of the evildoers on the Left. I recognize this argument as I have no doubt in my mind that the Left would use this to propel their fight to take away our right to bear arms entirely. We understand why many conservatives justify this position, but I don’t think we can permit our fear of the illegitimate radical Left to prevent us from having this discussion.
There are limits on my First Amendment, and there should be limits on my Second Amendment. There are no absolutes in any of these so-called rights as Justice Scalia affirmed.
The know-nothing party will not change settled law; it won’t happen especially now with the Supreme Court being made up of true Americans by and large with the rare exception such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
No matter what we think, this will all be decided by the courts, and certainly not by talk-show hosts. The Supreme Court justices are going to determine how far, if any, changes will be made with regard to limitations or restrictions on the Second Amendment. You must understand that it will always come down to the law.