Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2008, 9:03 am -- In writing the piece below, I noted that not only is Heller a victory for women's rights, it is a victory for gay and elderly rights, as well. Gay Patriot has a piece on how Heller may be one of the biggest victories for gay rights in years.
Attorney and cultural commentator Ann Althouse has a view that mirrors my own about the Heller decision: it is a pro-women's rights position.
I've long maintained in previous posts that firearms for self defense are a pro-choice position.
A sidearm, being an equalizer, provides women the choice not be dragged into the woods or back-alley and be raped, or worse.
Justice Anton Scalia, writing for the majority, said:
"It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon. There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid."Althouse observes:
"Should we read that boldface as a statement about women's rights? Scalia uses a gender-neutral expression — those without upper-body strength — but we know that on average, women have less upper-body strength than men. To say it's enough that you can have a long gun is to put a greater burden on women, is it not?
"In fact, the argument about handguns and upper-body strength is explicitly a women's rights argument in at least one (amicus) brief."
The brief to which she refers came from 126 women state legislators and academics and may be reviewed here. Apparently, the brief struck a nerve with the majority in Heller, since Justice Scalia made significant note of such in the opinion handed down earlier this week.
There is an old saying about people who would rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand. Frankly, the dinosaurs who continue to hold opinion today are sorely out of touch with the mainstream.
I couldn't agree more with Althouse: Heller was a win for women's rights, and gay rights, or the rights of the elderly, for that matter.
A handful of big-city mayors are all atwitter with fear that the citizens in their cities may get back their right to look after themselves. They worry about a power base drained of support from a people who increasingly no longer feel the need to be dependent on government for a safety.
Firearms in the hands of law-abiding women and men aren't the threat to big cities, or big city mayors. Self-reliance is the real threat. That's what has them nervous.
What better way to empower women in this nation than for the U.S. Supreme Court to enumerate, as part of a landmark opinion that improves overall citizen safety, their basic human right to self defense.