Just as the court found in DC v Heller about two years ago, this morning, the United States Supreme Court upheld the meaning of the Second Amendment. This time, by incorporating this right against state and local government, and declaring that it is indeed a “fundamental right”.
The New York Times puts it this way:
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said the right to self-defense protected by the Second Amendment was fundamental to the American conception of ordered liberty. Like other provisions of the Bill of Rights setting out such fundamental protections, he said, it must be applied to limit not only federal power but also that of state and local governments.
The ruling is an enormous symbolic victory for supporters of gun rights, but its short-term practical effect is unclear. As in the Heller decision, the justices left for another day just what kinds of gun control laws can be reconciled with Second Amendment protection. The majority said little more than that there is a right to keep handguns in the home for self-defense.
Some folks like to tell me I’m naive about some things, but generally I have always read the Constitution for what it is, the highest law in the land… and in my world that means “shall not be infringed” means… well, shall not be infringed.
Now that the two landmark cases are out of the way – DC v Heller where we learn the Second Amendment really is an individual right, and MacDonald v. Chicago, where we learn it truly is a fundamental right, I’m curious how the court begins to interpret these two rulings in the context of the morass that is state, local, and federal firearms laws.