Has There Always Been a Right to Own a Gun?
Posted at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2012
The current debate around gun control has largely accepted as a time-honored fact that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun, but Cass Sunstein notes that this is a fairly recent reading of the right to bear arms.
“For decades, federal courts overwhelmingly rejected the conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. It wasn’t until the 21st century that lower federal courts, filled with appointees of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, started to adopt the individual-rights position. And, of course, the Supreme Court itself adopted that view in 2008, by a 5-to-4 vote.”
“More important still, the Supreme Court has proceeded cautiously, and it has pointedly refused to shut the door to all gun regulation… the court added that the sorts of weapons it was protecting were those ‘in common use at the time’ that the Second Amendment was ratified… a lot of gun-control legislation, imaginable or proposed, would be perfectly consistent with the court’s rulings.