28 February 2008

Do You Have A Right to Own A Gun?

USA Today asks, "Do you have a legal right to own a gun?"

BTW, check out the poll results!!!

The legal argument:

"My assumption is that there are at least five votes for the proposition that the Second Amendment protects an individual right," says Yale University law professor Jack Balkin. "But just because you say there is an individual right, you haven't resolved the case. … Is it an individual right to keep and bear arms that might be useful in militia service, a right to keep and bear arms that might be useful for self-defense, or both?"

Then, you have the presidential candidates weighing in:

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama has focused on gun control in their campaigns for the Democratic nomination. When asked specifically about it in public forums, they voice modest support for new regulations and quickly add that the Second Amendment protects people's gun rights.

"The Clinton and Obama campaigns know the public opinion data on the issue well," says Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow specializing in public opinion polls at the American Enterprise Institute. "Opinion is complex, but the right to be able to own a gun seems to be firmly held, and I think that's why both candidates say what they say."

"Republican frontrunner Sen. John McCain has needed no such finessing of the issue."

What it all means:

"Kairys, who has helped cities sue gunmakers for the costs of firearms violence, says gun-control laws could be hurt by any court finding of an individual right. If the court does that, he says, "It's going to be very hard to get any (gun control) legislation passed."

"Adds Balkin, "There is no reason to believe the court's decision will defuse the battle over guns. The court rarely has the last word in major social controversies. If the court rules for D.C., there will be continuing agitation by gun-rights advocates. If the court rules against D.C., there will be new waves of litigation" over what the ruling means."

Frankly, both sides are saddling up -- and working to fill up the financial war-chests -- for legal battles after the Supreme Court renders its opinion this summer.

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