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It’s possible Scalia avoided the question simply because it wasn’t before the court. At issue was whether the government could ban self-defensive gun use, not what constitutes the over-burdening of same.
Moving on to the laws that Heller didn’t address: The registration requirement remains. There are several burdens to handgun registration — applicants have to clear a background check, pass vision and gun-safety tests, pay a fee, and submit the gun for ballistics testing. “There are circumstances where it could take months,” the police chief told the Washington Post.
Many of these steps are obnoxious, unlikely to reduce crime, and clearly designed only to make gun ownership a hassle, but there’s really no telling what the Supreme Court will do with them. However, the courts are quite likely to crush the District’s long-running ban on “machine guns,” not because it bans actual machine guns, but because it inaccurately defines the term to include semi-automatic weapons that can “shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot” more than 12 rounds.
Even semiautomatic pistols that come with 10-round magazines typically accept higher-capacity clips, so this has much the same effect the original handgun ban had. In fact, Dick Heller himself was unable to register his handgun after winning in court the right to do so (explicitly, not just in principle: “the District must permit Heller to register his handgun”).
Part of the majority’s logic in Heller was that handguns are commonly owned — “the quintessential self-defense weapon.” Yes, many of these handguns are revolvers, but semi-automatic pistols aren’t rare in any sense of the term, or any less well-suited to self-defense.
What this all means is that it’s going to be a battle. D.C. has stepped back into its role as a testing ground for various gun-control measures. There are better things for the city to spend money on than the defense of ineffective crime measures, but at least the Second Amendment ball is at last rolling full tilt.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?