Scalia Gets Another Crack At Gun Control

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It looks like the Supreme Court is going to take another big bite at gun control. Last year, the Court overturned the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, but left it unclear whether the ruling would apply to states and cities. Now Chicago's strict gun control law is under scrutiny. I didn't much care for last year's opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia. I'm not a lawyer but I thought the minority made strong arguments about the nature of the Second Amendment and as a federalist I like the idea of communities being able to set these regulations without having them overturned. That said, I thought D.C.'s gun ban was draconian but that the District had every right to impose it. I wrote about the case and the murder of a friend here.  

Given the tenor of Scalia's opinion last year, which put a lot of emphasis on the right of persons to protect themselves in their home, I don't think the court will touch concealment laws of assault weapons or other restrictions. Scalia made a big deal about handlock requirements being unconstitutional because the owner would need quick access to their firearm. Even if the Court strikes down Chicago's ban on handguns, I think a panoply of restrictions will get upheld. At this point, I don't see Democrats getting too flustered by this.. They've largely dropped the issue. President Obama's reaction to the Scalia ruling last year was muted. And there's no politician proposing anything like say, the licensing of all handguns, as Bill Bradley proposed in his failed 2000 presidential bid. For good or ill, Democrats have come to accept the prevalence of firearms in America--a fact of life the Court will uphold as well.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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