From the LA Times: Justices signal they’re ready to make gun ownership a national right.
Most of the Supreme Court justices who two years ago said the 2nd Amendment protects individual gun rights signaled during arguments Tuesday that they are ready to extend this right nationwide and to use it to strike down some state and local gun regulations.
Since 1982, Chicago has outlawed handguns in the city, even for law-abiding residents who sought to keep one at home. That ordinance was challenged by several city residents who said it violated their right “to keep and bear arms” under the 2nd Amendment.
All signs Tuesday were that five justices saw the right to “bear arms” as national in scope and not limited to laws passed in Washington.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy described the individual right to possess a gun as being of “fundamental character,” like the right to freedom of speech. “If it is not fundamental, then Heller is wrong,” Kennedy said, referring to the decision two years ago that struck down the handgun ban in the District of Columbia. Kennedy was part of the 5-4 majority in that case.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called it an “extremely important” right in the Constitution. Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. echoed the theme that the court had endorsed an individual, nationwide right in their decision two years ago. The fifth member of the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas, did not comment during the argument, but he had been a steady advocate of the 2nd Amendment.
Well, it will be months before there is a decision here, and part of my breath will be held until this incredibly important ruling is actually issued, but, I must say, this is highly pleasurable stuff to contemplate.