SCOTUS’ opinion in District of Columbia, et. al. v. Heller, is probably the most welcome official document in memory for gun owners’ rights activists. As such, it bears multiple re-readings.
Savor this, for example, from Justice Scalia’s majority opinion:
“By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects. See Malcolm 122-134. Blackstone, whose works, we have said, ‘constituted the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,’ Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 715 (1999), cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen. See 1 Blackstone 136, 139-140 (1765). His description of it cannot possibly be thought to tie it to militia or military service. It was, he said, ‘the natural right of resistance and self preservation,’ id., at 139, and ‘the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence,’ id., at 140;see also 3 id., at 2-4…Thus, the right secured in 1689 as a result of the Stuarts’ abuses was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.” (Pages 20-21 of the Heller decision.)
In his dissent, Justice Stevens wrote, “The Court 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, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy.”
Yes, Justice Stevens, the Court would have us believe the obvious truth, as confirmed by the vast majority of the substantial body of Constitutional scholarship that exists on the topic…