Monday, July 30, 2012

Scalia and FOX get Scary on Gun Control



WALLACE: What about… a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?
SCALIA: We’ll see. 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 here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.
WALLACE: How do you decide that if you’re a textualist?
SCALIA: Very carefully.
Justice Scalia is scary wrong to me in this interview- but not for the reason some might think. It does not scare me that he speaks as if he is willing to consider making it legal for citizens to keep and bear rocket launchers.   What scares me is that he believes that the federal courts of the United States have any authority at all to determine the extent of our gun rights.  
If he was really a textualist based on original intent, he wouldn't.   He would instead say "the Federal Government is constitutionally prohibited from performing any act which might infringe on the pre-existing right of the people to keep and bear arms.   Since this is so, neither I nor any other federal employee have any authority whatsoever to determine how or if arms are to be regulated amongst the several states."
Let this sink into your head, the amendments in the Bill of Rights were never meant to be applied to the states.   They were restrictions on the federal government only.   The first amendment, which sets the tone, specifically says that “Congress” shall make no law.   States had restrictions on speech, laws against blasphemy, and even state sponsored churches long after the ratification of the bill of rights.  Clearly, the founders did not consider these state interventions, which were clearly prohibited to the federal government under the first amendment, to be any restriction whatsoever upon the states. 
This is not to say these are sound polices, and most states eventually adopted state constitutions which impacted these interventions, but my point is that the original intent of the Bill of Rights was to bind the federal government exclusively, not the governments of the states.
How does the third amendment, about the quartering of troops in homes, apply to states which were not allowed under the constitution to even keep troops?  Even where it does not specify which body is restricted, the intent was that the federal government be restricted, not the states.  The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights was to bind up the central government, not those of the states. 
Consider that almost all states, even those brought into the union after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, had provisions similar to the first, second, and forth amendments in their state constitutions.   If the amendments of the Bill of Rights were meant to bind the states, why would states need such provisions in their own constitutions?   Clearly, they would not.   The original ten amendments to the Constitution were meant to bind the federal government only, not the states.
If the possession or bearing of arms is to be regulated, it should be the states which regulate them, and in accordance with the restrictions present in their own constitutions.

I am going to be crystal clear on this: Yes RPGs and guns that can shoot 100 rounds a minute are scary, but that is exactly the kind the people need to be able to possess, because that's what our government has to arm their foot soldiers with.   

The whole point of the 2nd amendment is that, as a last resort, the people would be able to rise up and resist a tyrannical central government.  You can't do that if you only have muskets and they have machine guns.  If the ultimate purpose of the citizens keeping arms is to place a check on government tyranny, then as the firepower of the government soldier goes up, that available to the citizen must also increase.

We'd better start figuring out how to exercise our right to keep and bear such arms in a way that we don't turn them on one another, but still insure they are available to fulfill their intended purpose under the 2nd amendment. 

4 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I didn't cheer Scalia at all for his comments. He presumes the feds have the constitutional authority to determine the limits of my pre-existing gun rights. And Wallace was so skeptical you could tell that FOX commentator was no friend of our gun rights either.

8:54 PM, July 30, 2012  
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