The Second Amendment gets its day in court

The Supreme Court began its hearing of the evidence in the case of DC v. Heller yesterday. Initial reports seemed to indicate that the justicces support the "individual right" reading of the second amendment. They did not however seem to shy from the idea of government infringement (aka regulation) of that right.

...a decision in favor of the individual-rights interpretation seems
likely. The court's four "conservatives" seemed to signal their support of it,
while the "liberals" clung to the collective-rights position. Justice Anthony
Kennedy, the usual swing vote, strongly suggested that the "right of the people"
clause is the "operational" clause and the founders meant to protect the right
to self-defense with appropriate tools.

Justice Kennedy put forth an interesting reading of the second amendment (and Scalia seemed to concur) that I hadn't considered before. He contended that the odd phrasing, the "well regulated militia" part was a reiteration of the states right to maintain a militia, but that the second amendment expands upon the provisions of Article I and II to enshrine an additional individual right. He said:

The first clause I submit can be read consistently with the purpose I've
indicated of simply reaffirming the existence and the importance of the militia
clause. Those were very important clauses. As you've indicated, they're in
Article I and Article II. And so in effect the amendment says we reaffirm the
right to have a militia, we've established it, but in addition, there is a right
to bear arms.
In essence what Kennedy is saying is that the second amendment should be read something like, "While we'd like to reiterate that the states have a right to maintain a militia we'd also like to certify that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms".

For those interested, here is the complete transcript of testimony and here are all of the briefs filed in reference to this case.

Many have proposed that this case is the panacea of gun rights preservation. I would submit that the Supreme Court exists in the same culture that we do. The court is likely to rule that the second amendment affirms an individual right to arms, but that the right is subject to reasonable regulation like all of the other rights are. How they define "reasonable" will be the crux of the issue..

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