The meaning of the 2nd Amendment is finally settled after 217 years.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday, 5 to 4, that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.
The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791.
That is something I found surprising when I read it.
The amendment reads: "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."
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.
The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said.
Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."
On all counts. ;-D
In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."
He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."
The Minority Justices sadly have no clue.
Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.
Licensing is still required, and restrictions on criminals, and the mentally ill, as well as carrying weapons in sensitive places are not affected.