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great ruling. obama is a commie loser. can't wait to see savage cry over this ruling.

Posted by Harry Callahan | June 26, 2008 8:51 AM

Who are the activist judges now Bushie?

Posted by pragmatic | June 26, 2008 8:52 AM

What should Obama say? I suggest the following:

"You want more of that crap from the Supreme Court? Just vote for my opponent."

Posted by Joe M | June 26, 2008 8:53 AM

Obama will probably come out in unenthusiastic support of the ruling, but I honestly don't think he should. Remember when he said he would tells he public what it need to know/hear, not what it wanted to know/hear? It's high time somebody with a position as powerful as Obama's came out and argued passionately against guns and the violence they engender in our society.

Posted by obamatron | June 26, 2008 8:58 AM

Obama will probably come out in unenthusiastic support of the ruling, but I honestly don't think he should. Remember when he said he would tells he public what it need to know/hear, not what it wanted to know/hear? It's high time somebody with a position as powerful as Obama's came out and argued passionately against guns and the violence they engender in our society.

Posted by obamatron | June 26, 2008 8:58 AM

Obama will probably come out in unenthusiastic support of the ruling, but I honestly don't think he should. Remember when he said he would tells he public what it need to know/hear, not what it wanted to know/hear? It's high time somebody with a position as powerful as Obama's came out and argued passionately against guns and the violence they engender in our society.

Posted by obamatron | June 26, 2008 8:59 AM
Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness
Wow, subtle speechwriters he's got there! McCain go smash! McCain find something he think hurt Obama! Smash smash!

I particularly enjoyed this:

For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers.
Perhaps he's unaware that the U.S. Supreme Court was created by the Founding Fathers, and that perhaps previous justices had a firmer grasp of what the Founding Fathers meant than some contemporary ideologue...

Yup, yesterday was "judicial activism", because it looked at precedent and decided to stick with it, but today is landmark goodness because they threw out the precedent set by every gun-related ruling in the Supreme Court's history.

Posted by switzerblog | June 26, 2008 9:00 AM

Perhaps he should elude to statistics. What % of gun owners have actually done any good w/ a handgun (i.e. protected their family in a home invasion) vs. the number of wacko's who have walked into businesses and schools and claimed innocent lives?
I don't know the answer but I can imagine what it would be. Still trying to figure out why guns are necessary.

Posted by meerkat | June 26, 2008 9:01 AM

Soery for the multi-post; your server kept telling me there was an error and my comment didn't go through.

Posted by obamatron | June 26, 2008 9:02 AM

Ahhhhhhhhhhh *pops cork*

@2 They were upholding the intended interpretation of the Constitution as written by our Founding Fathers.

They intended for a man to be able to possess firearms to protect his life and property. PERIOD.

You can create all the more laws you want, but until the ones on the books start getting properly enforced with strict harsh penalties with teeth, no "extra" laws will be followed by those already breaking laws. You think if they don't obey the first one they'll obey the second?

Most probably don't, so instead of attacking the offenders, you need to remove some inanimate object.

Gun bans have NEVER reduced crime in any jurisdiction that has enacted them. You can look at England as a prime example. Those fools enacted a ban, and the police on the street also voluntarily gave up their sidearms. What happened? The criminals kept carrying guns, and the police found themselves going to a gun fight with wooden clubs. Nice. They quickly scrambled and went back to carrying pistols.

Is the District of Columbia gun free?

Has the laws on the books stopped gun violence? Why not? Aren't the laws strict enough? Gosh darnit why aren't those criminals following the rules!!!!

All you ultra liberal whack jobs need to wake up and deal with reality. NEWSFLASH! Did all you kids realize that the police have NO duty to protect you? That's right they have NONE. NOWHERE is it written, mandated or stated that they have to protect you from an armed aggressor. This is a FACT and very few realize it. Ultimately YOU are responsible for YOUR life. An aggressive forced felony takes less than 3 minutes to happen. There is NO way any police will be able to respond, before you are violated. I hope you all realize that.

But you'd rather get violated, then come running and screaming how your beloved police force who many of you whine and cry about didn't "Protect my innocence" from those big bad meanies.

Now that this has become SCOTUS precedent, it is unlikely to be touched for another generation.

You all have a great day. The smile on my face will not wear off for some time.

Posted by Reality Check | June 26, 2008 9:11 AM

The debate on guns is, like the debate over executing child rapists, pretty damn far from the daily lives of most people. This makes good hate-radio fodder, but Obama doesn't scare away any of his support by just shrugging. I don't think enthusiastic support would be honest, but it would be perfectly ok for him to say, "That's fine, not what I would have done, but whatever. Moving on..."

Posted by Grant Cogswell | June 26, 2008 9:12 AM

Grant...very well said. This not a fight that Obama wants to get too deeply involved with at this stage of the Campaign.

The use of the weapon known as the U.S. Military and our war in Iraq is a much more important question for Obama to deal with right now. The ownership and use of handguns by individuals, while an important question, is not as important in relation.

To that end, Obama should, as Grant suggests, give a nod and move on.

Posted by Timothy | June 26, 2008 9:21 AM

In my life, the likelihood of me needed a gun to protect myself (and being able to successfully do so via firearms), is approximately zero. So, all of these "you have the right to protect yourself!!11!!1! the cops won't do anything for you!!!" arguments do not resonate with me at all.

This holds true for me now that I live in a big city, as well as when I was growing up in a rural area. I have been trained in how to fire a gun, and I know how to safely own and operate one, but I see it as completely, 100% unnecessary.

Posted by Julie | June 26, 2008 9:22 AM

The day when the government takes my guns, will be the day they take them from my cold dead hands.

That is no joke. And approximately 20 million Americans agree. You want to start a true civil war? Try taking their guns.

I dare you. Yes any of YOU who have the balls to come take it from me.

Please try. See where it gets you.

I will not allow my security to be placed into the hands of another who may be too far away to assist, and too busy to care.

If you think criminals are bold and brazened now, imagine a world where they have no fear of getting shot by an armed citizen. Imagine their mindset as they prepare to break into your house in the middle of the night, unafraid of getting a bullet in the head. All amped up on some hard drug like meth or amphetamine, I'm sure they are full of reason and logic.

How will you defend yourself? Will you cowher and hide under a bed? Will you have the balls to confront them? Do you really believe that a gun ban will eliminate all guns? Hell no. In fact underground guns will always be around. I gurantee that the criminal will have found one for his crime. So he will be entering your dark house at night with that gun, and you will be safely tucked in with the knowledge that you are following the law and gave yours up, as "the Police will protect" me.

Sleep tight if you can.

That day almost came if the gun ban was enacted.

Fortunately law abiding people like myself will never have to worry about becoming the victim. I sleep peacefully at night with the knowledge that I will be able to personally protect me and my family when there is no help to be had.

You liberals can try sleeping tight with the rationalization that you are "protected" by others.

This is no joke. There has never been an issue ever that would cause a tear in the very fabric of this country. No other issue has ever come close.

Posted by 2nd Amendment = Freedom | June 26, 2008 9:22 AM

I'm certainly no lawyer, but if SCOTUS is going to uphold gun-ownership on the grounds that the 2nd Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms " used for self-defense in the home" (my emphasis), this would seem to actually NARROW the right to some extent from its traditional interpretation.

Could not one now argue that guns carried OUTSIDE the home, or that are used for purposes other than home-protection, do not fall under this ruling, and therefore are not subject to the provisions of the 2nd Amendment?

Posted by COMTE | June 26, 2008 9:26 AM

A common theme in yesterday's thread was "I may disagree with the decision, but I am committed to the procedural supremacy of the Court and the rule of law." I'm totally down with that and think it would really benefit Obama to be seen as a legal mind focused process rather than politics. Instead, he seems to be actively moving to the right as a result of these rulings and smells like an opportunist; a flip-flopper to the Right and untrustworthy to the Left. I don't like it.

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 26, 2008 9:29 AM

Speaking as a libertarian who's completely in the tank for Obama, I hope he acknowledges that the 2nd Amendment matters as much as the Fourth.
It's funny to hear the same people who decry the Bushies for violating our 4th amendment rights through wiretapping and other spying and use the catch-all claim that it will make us "safer" are also the same people who call for violating our 2nd amendment rights in a catch-all (and proven ineffective, btw) effort to make us "safer." Go ask someone who lives in DC how gun-free and safe their neighborhoods are.
Gun bans are like drug bans: they drive possession and markets underground, they remove the government's ability to safely regulate the market, and they only punish (and limit the freedom of) the law-abiding.
My $.02.

Posted by torrentprime | June 26, 2008 9:31 AM

I wonder if everyone now exulting in the wisdom of the Supreme Court will now also acknowledge that women do in fact have the right to choose?

Posted by el ganador | June 26, 2008 9:31 AM


I hope you feel a whole LOT safer now...

Posted by Commie Pinko Librul | June 26, 2008 9:31 AM

@10 & 14:

Uhhhhh. Dudes. Look at the number of gun deaths in every country that limits gun access. GO AHEAD. Loooooook. I'm waiting.

*taps foot*

Oh ok, there you go sweeties. In Germany, I believe they have the best gun laws. People can get all the guns they want. BUT! they have to apply for a permit for one, and in order to get that, they have to spend some time on a gun range (with an instructor) until they can qualify with it. Then, they can go get said gun.

But guess what? They can't just go buy bullets (on sale at WalMart!), they need to buy them at the gun range, and use them there. It is strictly enforced, unless you are a hunter (in which case you can get permits for keeping bullets).

I know many German gun enthusiasts, but guess what, they are responsible people who are trained to use their gun, as they have to follow rules to use and keep it. Seriously, they even serve beer at the gun clubs (schutzenhausen). Can you imagine a gun range in America that has a little club with beer and wine?

I agree that the police should carry weapons, but to allow some dumbass off the street to just "go get a firearm" is ridiculous and outdated. And if you think that at some point you'd need to "protect yourself from the government" that is also silly. How many people have to die just because of this hypothetical instance?

BTW 14, if you seriously worry about home invasion, you should look up the stats on times when guns have been used against the victim in these cases (and they are EXTREMELY RARE to begin with). So honestly if you are up all night worrying about that, then I feel sad for you.

Now get back in your SUV's and head to the suburbs, where you can lock your doors soooooo tight and grasp your guns to feel safe.

Posted by Original Monique | June 26, 2008 9:37 AM

He should say


which is what he's been saying consistently since last week.

Posted by K | June 26, 2008 9:38 AM

If crazy establishments like the police can't protect us from violent criminals, why do 2nd Amendment buffs care about the Supreme Court protecting them from all us of us liberal hippies? If you want to go militia-style, do it up. Don't mock the general public's trust in police protection to protect their rights, then pin your own hopes on the Supreme Court to protect your rights.

Posted by Lara | June 26, 2008 9:38 AM


Re: England's gun laws. You don't know what you're talking about. I doubt you've spent much time there.

Cops in the UK don't need guns because most people (criminals included) don't carry guns. We don't have the same vicious cycle that you do here - where cops have guns because criminals have guns because homeowners have guns because angry teenagers have guns because off-their-meds schizophrenia patients have guns because etc

If the UK police need guns they can get them on-scene fast in the hands of well-trained specialists. Compare to the USA where any old cop can blow you away on a whim.

Posted by blank12357 | June 26, 2008 9:40 AM

Everybody needs to calm down. Obama should and will say anything between now and November that is necessary to help him get elected. A Democratic primary campaign is one thing, but the general election is quite another. There will be some stinky farts coming from the Obama camp. Liberals would do well to plug their nose and pretend like everything's OK. Seriously, do NOT read too much into what either candidate says now. Obama is campaigning for the moderates now. Nothing more.

The true measure of the Obama presidency will be what he does in office, not what he says in the months leading up to the election.

Posted by Mahtli69 | June 26, 2008 9:40 AM

What he for sure won't is the truth: that the constituion does forbid such a ban, but he wishes it didn't. In American politics, it's a big no-no to say you don't like any aspect of the constitution.

Play constitutional lawyer for a moment. If the militia clause means what the anti-gun left wants it to -- "the government's army can have weapons" -- then 2nd amendment doesn't forbid the government from doing anything it might realisticly want to do. The essense of a constitutional right is that it limits the government, so that intrepretation effectively means that the 2nd amendment doesn't articulate a constitutional right at all. As an instrumentalist trick for someone who wishes the 2nd amendment weren't there, that's brilliant, but from the perspective of a more neutral constitutional lawyer, that's kinda convoluted. It seems more intellecutally honest to say that our constitution does limit the government's ability to control weaponry, but you would rather it hadn't.

Can anyone offer an intrepretation of the militia clause under which the 2nd amendment still imposes a real and significant limitation on government power?

Posted by David Wright | June 26, 2008 9:40 AM

As Obama is a Constitutional scholar, I'm sure he'll read the whole decision before commenting, and it's not as unilateral as some would have you think.

From the decision:

“the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.”

“The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.”

“Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

“Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.”

“The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting.”

“It was plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense.”

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those ‘in common use at the time.’ 307 U. S., at 179.”

“Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.”

“In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.”

Posted by el ganador | June 26, 2008 9:41 AM

@14. Was that a parody? Because it was a pretty good one, if so.

There has never been an issue ever that would cause a tear in the very fabric of this country. No other issue has ever come close.

Are you not counting, you know, the Civil War here? I mean, I know only 600,000 people died, but perhaps you don't think that constitutes a tear in the very fabric of this country.

Posted by Julie | June 26, 2008 9:42 AM

But to the original question, Eli, I think that Obama should just let this go.

"I respect the authority of the SCOTUS...blah blah blah....gun ownership has responsibilites...blah blah blah...rights of citizens....blah, blah etc."

Posted by Original Monique | June 26, 2008 9:42 AM

Why would supporting this decision anger liberals? Can you not be liberal and think the 2nd amendment is valid?

Posted by Andrew | June 26, 2008 9:44 AM

@29 I'm liberal and think the the 2nd is as valid as the other nine Amendments. I also happen to think, based on the quotes I show above, that this isn't the sweeping judgement that some die-hard gun owners hoped for.

The court seems to lay limits at the types of weapons owned to non-military weapons, ie, handguns are OK, but machine guns are not.

Additionally, they accept that there are limits on the 2nd, including not carrying into school and govt. buildings.

Finally, the ultimate decision itself clearly states that the remediation is to allow Heller to GET A LICENSE and REGISTER HIS GUN.

In sum, I read this as the best possible interpretation of the 2nd that honors it in the context of all our other rights and obligations, while imposing reasonable limits on what is permissible for individuals.

Posted by el ganador | June 26, 2008 9:51 AM

@29. Sure you can. I don't happen to have an issue with the 2nd amendment. But, as this decision references, the rights guaranteed in the constitution come with limits (e.g., you don't have the right to free speech in all instances, you don't have the right to all types of guns or to have one in all places).

I think the limitations placed on the 2nd amendment should be stricter. Much stricter, actually (both in the types of guns a private citizen can own and in the licensing requirements - see the Germany example above). So, I am supportive of the 2nd amendment, but also in favor of strict gun control laws.

It's not a difficult position to have, but it's a nuanced one, which is something politicians are generally afraid of doing. It's all - Abortion bad! Guns good! - these days.

Posted by Julie | June 26, 2008 9:54 AM

I'm 100% o.k. with gun ownership. But only men can buy them, and you have to at least have one felony--preferably two--to show you know how to use it.

Posted by Rufio (From Hook) | June 26, 2008 9:56 AM

@30 El Gandor...

I think you've nailed it, with a great reading and a really good interpretation.

Posted by Timothy | June 26, 2008 10:00 AM

"Look, these are not simple questions and they do not call for simple answers, however much Senator McCain wishes it were so. I know what guns have done to daily life in inner cities like Chicago, and that's why I would have preferred that the Court upheld the constitutionality of the DC law. But no would would disagree that the DC outright ban was a very aggressive piece of legislation, and, since the job of a responsible Court is to draw lines in difficult, complicated cases, it is not surprising to me that the Court felt the District of Columbia went too far. The Court's decision is not unreasonable or outrageous, and I welcome its clarification of the Second Amendment. The real job, however, our real task, is for those in charge of policy and governance to address the very real problems presented by guns in our Society, and the very real harms guns do in the absence of reasonable regulation. The Court made clear that reasonable regulation of firearms will pass constitutional muster, and as President, I will consistently support reasonable regulation and creative problem-solving. I search Senator McCain's statement about this case and his past statements and votes on guns for an understanding of what he intends to do. While there are some lively and irresponsible political charges in what he says, of the type we have come to expect, I don't have a clue how the Senator would actually lead on this issue."

Posted by fixo | June 26, 2008 10:05 AM

Now the Supreme Court needs to affirm our right to another deadly weapon... the pitbull.

Posted by Dawgson | June 26, 2008 10:21 AM

Re the story linked by @14: How is this any different, really, from suicide bombing?

Posted by NaFun | June 26, 2008 10:25 AM

@10 knows shit about England (as he naively calls it). UK beat cops don't carry guns, only special officers carry guns, and have to be specifically dispatched when warranted. They did take on a 'shoot to kill' policy after 9-11 -- and proceeded to kill a number of innocent people as a result.

Posted by K | June 26, 2008 10:28 AM

I'm getting a little tired of being told that because I support Obama for president I must think he's the Messiah.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2008 11:31 AM

@ 14

If one of the employees or the boss would have been carrying a gun, maybe it wouldn't have been nearly as tragic.

Who knows? Maybe only 1 or 2 people get killed? At the very least, they might have had a chance.

Do you think at the moment he was running around, that those innocent folks were thinking or wishing that they had some way to protect themselves, instead of hiding or running in fear?

Wouldn't you?

Or would you just stand in place and let fate determine your outcome?

Posted by 2nd Amendment = Freedom | June 26, 2008 12:09 PM

@27 Julie I was speaking about any current issue that would cause a civil war right now. No disrespect or deference intended towards the Civil War for slavery.

That being said, if you think that civil war was long, drawn out and bloody, you have no idea what gun owners would do if gun ban legislation was enacted by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. Like I said, 20 million, that is 20,000,000 Americans would start a civil war like has never been seen in the world. There are that many people that are intensely passionate to overthrow the government if it ever got that far. I'm pretty sure you'd see a majority of citizens in at least 6 states vote to secede. It is that raw and intensely passionate an issue. Slavery doesn't begin to hold water to people's rights at owning guns in America to maintain their liberty.

@30 you've clearly misunderstood why the 2nd Amendment is in existence. The Founding Fathers did not want the Government to only have the guns. Therefore they gave the citizens equal access to the same guns the military had during that time. Equal firepower for equal firepower to ensure that the government didn't try the same tyrannical tactics as their former motherland of Britain tried.

Therefore, the 2nd Amendment is intended to allow citizens to have access to the same weapons as the military to ensure they could overthrow their government if it tried assuming more power than the citizens originally gave it. It is after all "We The People" who give our own government its power.

If we are to follow the historic line of thought and understand that the Founders wanted to protect the citizens ability to weapons ‘in common use at the time.’, then by extension, current citizens should have the same type of access to modern current weapons in common use by the military at this time. Therefore we should be be able to possess the same arms as our government, which by definition would include fully automatic weapons.

Further, I'm not reading the same "interpretation" as you are, indicating the court laid out any type of limitation to handguns. That is your opinion, and not shared by law scholars.

I won't even touch the ridiculous logic that firearms shouldn't be able to be possessed by qualified law abiding citizens in schools and gov't buildings. That is such ridiculous pandering feelgood bullshit too

Posted by 2nd Amendment = Freedom | June 26, 2008 12:30 PM

boo fucking hoo. you were one of the supreme assholes in making disparaging remarks about anyone who said anything remotely positive about hillary clinton. cry me a river, asshole

Posted by infrequent | June 26, 2008 12:39 PM


So, I guess the question in my mind is, IF they HAD been carrying, would it have made any appreciable difference, or, would it in fact have made the outcome even worse?

Imagine the scenario when two or three panicked, gun-toting employees start blasting away at each other in the close confines of an office space full of cubicles, desks, filing cabinets, etc., etc. Imagine now, that you're a crazed, despondent, intent-on-committing-suicide-and-taking-as-many-of-your-co-workers-as-possible-with-you-in-the-process kind of nutjob, and one of your co-workers has just taken a pop at you, who do you think is going to be next in your sights? Maybe you'll get lucky and take out your crazed co-worker, or, maybe he'll get you before you get him, which leaves us where? A crazed employee, bent on inflicting maximum casualties, whom you have FURTHER ENRAGED by your actions, and furnished with even MORE firepower.

And, unless you've had experience drawing-and-firing under close-quarters combat situations (like THAT gets covered in the training course one is required to take before being issued a gun permi - uh, what? No training required? Um, nevermind), the odds of you missing your intended target and hitting an innocent bystander are pretty darned good.

I keep hearing this same tired "if only so-and-so had been packing" argument, but with one or two extremely rare exceptions, there's never a shred of evidence to back up the claim. It's wishful thinking at best, and complete fabrication at worst; if it were so, certainly we'd read more stories to that effect, but it's simply not the case.

Posted by COMTE | June 26, 2008 2:33 PM

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