SCOTUS Second Amendment Smackdown

One of the more ridiculous argument used by anti-Second-Amendment types goeth thusly: “OK, the second amendment gives you the right to bear arms … as defined in 1789. So you can have a musket.”

The idiocy of this argument scarcely needs commenting on. No one would claim the First and Fourth Amendments didn’t apply to computers since computers didn’t exist in 1789. No one would claim Mormons can’t have religious freedom because the LDS church didn’t exist in 1789. And yet this argument has been dragged out from time to time. And a Massachusetts Court gave some credence to that argument:

Enter Jaime Caetano, a Massachusetts woman who had obtained a restraining order against an abusive ex-partner and carried a stun gun for self-protection. When police discovered the weapon in her purse, she was convicted of violating the state’s ban on stun guns. She appealed, contending that the ban violated the Constitution’s right to bear arms. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against her, declaring that stuns guns were not in existence when the Second Amendment was written.

So how did the Court take to this argument? Very poorly. They rejected it per curiam in scathing terms with Alito and Thomas issuing a concurring opinion. To be clear: they didn’t decide that the stun gun ban is unconstitutional; they simply sent it back to the Supreme Judicial Court with a note saying, “Think harder, Massholes.”

Again, per curiam, which means the “musket gambit” is so silly, even the liberals on the Court who voted against Heller thought it was a ridiculous argument.

Because … you know … it is a ridiculous argument. It might make for good cheer lines on The Daily Show/Full Frontal/SNL/Real Time. But it won’t hold a thimble of water in a Court.

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  1. Christopher

    Strangely, while  hate hearing the argument that the 2nd Amendment only protects muskets, I kind of enjoy engaging people on that for some reason.  Probably because I enjoy humiliating people on it (not that they ever admit that they’re wrong or anything, but still).  I don’t even need to talk about the meaning of the text to address this.  The first thing to point out is that there actually were repeating firearms back then:

    There’s another thing that I like to point out: Many people who use the musket argument also tend to use the claim that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the police and military to keep and bear arms (or whatever the hell they think “well-regulated militia” means).  They usually don’t use these arguments consecutively, but it does display how ludicrous their position is.  If you apply both of these at the same time, then that would mean that they believe that the “well-regulated militia” should only be armed with muskets!

    There’s also one last thing.  Maybe it’s just me, but I honestly don’t think a gun control advocate should be using suicide statistics as a part of their argument if they’re going to use the musket argument.  It typically only takes one shot to commit suicide, so I don’t see how limiting us to muskets (or other single-shot firearms) is going to solve that problem.  And I don’t think that they’ll be able to justify regulating muskets, as many other countries don’t regulate them (you can purchase a muzzle-loading firearm without a license in several European countries).

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  2. WVRSpence

    The IRS also got a big smackdown this week. Kudos to courts for following the Constitution.

    Also, in other sort-of news, it looks like Ted may have been very naughty.

    Also, RIP Garry Shandling.

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  3. AlexInCT

    Kudos to courts for following the Constitution.

    For now at least. As soon as you have a liberal majority they will invent new rights whole-cloth, and seek to deprive us serfs of the ability to defend ourselves from the ever more tyrannical government entity now fleecing us all…

    Anyone that doesn’t realize that the purpose of the 2nd amendment and the choice to make it the 2nd amendment was to provide the people of the US with a means to protect themselves from a tyrannical government depriving them of any of their constitutional rights, is willfully being ignorant. Spare me the idiotic arguments about how the militarized police or the powerful military might of the US have robbed us of that ability already so we might as well give in and give up the little protection being armed still gives us today. I for one am not one of these fuckers that hope that if they roll over and show Leviathan their belly they will be killed and eaten last. Fuck that shit.

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