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The 2nd Amendment does not bestow some special new right to us. It merely affirms our inalienable right to self-defense, and guarantees access to the means with which to exercise it. By going back to the original meaning and intent of our founders, the five justices in the majority left little doubt as to the meaning of the words â€˜the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.â€™ It is disappointing that the other four justices failed to grasp the meaning of such a simple statement.
The majority even went further and seemed to question (without providing an answer) the constitutionality of bans on military weapons like the M16 â€“ which were precisely the type of arms the 2nd Amendment intended to make accessible to the citizen militia. Even with that, the question seems a long way from being settled.
There are still thousands of unconstitutional gun laws on the books that need to be overturned, and many questions remain unanswered as a result of DC v. Heller. However, while this may have been a less than perfect decision, it could have been a lot worse for gun owners. We may have dodged a bullet – this time.
Interestingly, there is a debate going on at LewRockwell.com about whether or not the SCOTUS really did get this one right. According to Stephan Kinsella, the decision rests upon the constitutionally specious “incorporation doctrine” in which the 14th amendment — considered by many conservative constitutionalists to be illegitimate — applies the Bill of Rights, which originally intended to be limits on the federal government, to the states. This, according to paleoconservatives and Rockwellian libertarians, is an affront against the principles of constitutional federalism. Thus, while Kinsella is fully supportive of gun rights, he is not in favor of the federal government enforcing them against the states.
J.H. Huebert respectfully disagrees, and points out that D.C. is not a state, but part of the federal government.