Today the Supreme Court addresses Washington, D.C.'s stringent gun ban. In a related Tuesday editorial, "The Court Considers Gun Control," the Times found the Second Amendment's right to bear armsthe only amendment that doesn't protect an individual right, but a group right. It's also the only one not to be loosely interpreted to fit the times, but a narrow one with specific boundaries set up in the past, in this case "tied to service in a militia."
The Times found D.C.'s notorious gun ban to be a "reasonable law" unfairly maligned by the awkwardly named "anti-gun-control advocates" (wouldn't "gun-rights advocates" be simpler?).
The District of Columbia, which has one of the nation's highest crime rates, banned private ownership of handguns. Rifles and shotguns were permitted, if kept disassembled or under an easily removed trigger lock. It is a reasonable law, far from the ban that some anti-gun-control advocates depict.
If it's such a great law, why does D.C. still have "one of the nation's highest crime rates"?
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the law violates the Second Amendment, which states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The decision broke with the great majority of federal courts that have examined the issue, including the Supreme Court in 1939. Those courts have held that the constitutional right to bear arms is tied to service in a militia, and is not an individual right.
The latest campus massacre, at Northern Illinois University, reminded us all of the dangers that come from too-easy access to weapons best suited for murder. For the high court to choose this moment to strike down reasonable gun rules would defy common sense, and needlessly put innocent people at risk.
But Northern Illinois was a gun-free campus - indicating thecampus anti-gun regulationwas at least ineffective, and possibly counter-productive, since it meant the gunman's victims were defenseless.