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Legal Commentary: Owen's Rhetoric
The Supreme Court has not looked squarely in the face of our second amendment since 1939. Back then, the Court ruled that it was OK for the National Firearms Act to ban the interstate transport of sawed-off shotguns. The defendants argued the law was unconstitutional, pointing to...
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
But the Court, in US v Miller, didn't agree that the amendment gave these folks an unfettered ability to carry around sawed-off shotguns. The right of gun possession had to have a "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." The Court suggested that, to be within the scope of the second amendment, the weapon would have to be part of the ordinary military equipment.
With one 20th century visit to the amendment, we will this term get our first second amendment visit of the 21st century. The Court will decide if the DC Circuit was right to rule that the amendment deems DC's handgun ban unconstitutional.
Maybe we can talk about how the case ought to come out on this web space. But let's begin on a lighter note.
Adam Freedman wrote the joke of the day in his column in today's Times. His piece is on the grammar of the amendment, namely its orgy of commas. Quickly, his point is that comma use in the late 18th century was willy nilly and that it would a folly to stake much interpretive weight upon the commas. In the end, it's best to take them out altogether and see what you get.
In reading his point, I thought this was a hilarious nod to the whole gun/2nd amendment debate...
"The best way to make sense of the Second Amendment is to take away all the commas (which, I know, means that only outlaws will have commas)."