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The 2nd Amendment and Vegas

October 5, 2017

Writing the majority opinion in District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008), Mr. Justice Scalia affirmed the “right of the people” to keep and bear arms. That right was not limited to participation in state militias, the Court ruled. That opinion, like all those written by Mr. Justice Scalia, interprets the original intent of the Founders, an approach used to limit the powers of the national government.

Why, here, did the most conservative Justice on the Court expand the Second Amendment by restricting any limitation of the right of the people?

In terms of public policy, the idea that anyone has a Constitutional right to own a firearm unrestricted by the town, municipality or state in which he resides, makes it difficult to control possession of most weapons.

Yet, since the national government is now perceived by a majority of Americans as a threat to freedom, enthusiasm for firearms has a political purpose: to defend us against the state when it morphs into an authoritarian regime.

Certainly, since Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the national government has become more intrusive in American life and has given few signs of respecting any limits–except for the Bill of Rights.

Americans took notice when Bill Clinton sent federal troops to capture a Cuban national, Elián González, and force his return to Castro’s Cuba. If the state can do that to a child, what about we the people?

All the same, Sunday’s massacre of 58 Americans at a music festival in Las Vegas reveals the open wounds that possession of weapons can cause. One deranged and spiritually diseased man does not signify that there are ten thousand equally evil men in America.

But, just one is surely enough.

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