I wrote the other day how the President of the United States in blaming the Texas Church Massacre on a deranged person does not want to see the Blue Whale in the room. That is that even if the person was deranged or mentally ill, of which there is no history, the massacre could not have happened if we had common sense gun laws in the country.
No one who thinks like the president wants to accept that the conditions that existed in 1787 were totally different from they are today. It seems to me that suggesting a blunderbuss in the hands of a citizen is the same as a machine gun is the height of naïveté or at a minimum a sign one is blind to society as it exists today. One would say a good SAT question would be a machine gun is to the blunderbuss, as a nuclear bomb is to a (a) cherry bomb; (b) hand grenade; (c) 3 sticks of TNT; or (4) land mine.
The gun decision (Heller) was written by Scalia who is no longer on the Court. He was replaced by Gorsuch. Even though he was appointed by Trump there was always hope he might have a different view on guns than Scalia. That hope was dashed last summer when he joined Justice Thomas in a dissent from the Court’s refusal to bring the case of Peruta v. California to it for a hearing. The issue was whether a person has a right to carry firearms in public. The case was from California where the law prohibits openly carrying a firearm in public. Peruta sought a license to carry a concealed firearm in public. The law provides he is able to do this if he shows “good cause.”
The sheriff to whom the application for a license was made interprets the phrase “good cause” to mean more than just a concern for one’s personal safety or one’s need for self-defense but requires a particularized showing that his situation is different from that of the general public (mainstream) which causes him to be placed in harm’s way. In other words, without pointing to a particular need rather than the general desire to be able to defend oneself the license to carry will not issue
Justice Thomas suggested the scheme faced by Peruta was a denial of his right to bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment as interpreted by Heller. To me the case is interesting because it shows Gorsuch’s disposition as well as the Supreme Court’s when it comes to guns. The former is a true believer in Heller while the latter is ducking the issue. Why is that?
Thomas points out that even with great disagreement among the states and federal courts over the issue, and even though over the last 7 years the Court has not heard any 2nd Amendment cases. During that time it has heard 35 cases on the First and 25 cases on the Fourth Amendment.
Thomas suggests the Court looks at the 2nd Amendment as “a disfavored right” and notes “The Constitution does not rank certain rights above the other.” He concludes his dissent stating: “For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantee of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice. They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it.”
I asked why that is that the Court is ducking dealing with the Second Amendment. I suggest it recognizes that its decision in Heller is wrong. None of those justices who went along with Scalia other than Thomas want to admit this. perhaps they are hoping that Congress will do something about the mess we have ourselves in with the present gun laws. That, of course, will never happen because of the erroneous belief that the National Rifle Association holds great power over the voters.
Nor can the Court look to the present president. He just signed a bill making it easier for mentally ill people to get guns (and he attributes a massacre to mental illness). His son-in-law is pushing regulations to make silencers legal. So that cupboard is bare.
Why isn’t it simple for the Court to say there is no way the Framers of the Second Amendment could understand the advances in firearms and had they then they would have expected reasonable limits on their use. How would it intrude upon anyone’s Second Amendment rights if all magazines that carried more than six rounds were outlawed and that to replace a magazine with another would be difficult so that at least 10 seconds would pass before it could be accomplished. The hunters, target shooters, and self-defense types could all have their guns; the future victims would have time to escape or defend selves during the time rounds were being exchanged. Isn’t that a simple step forward given that the Hellers decision exists.