About 10,000 Americans died by handgun violence, according to federal statistics, in the four months that the Supreme Court debated which clause of the Constitution it would use to subvert Chicago's entirely sensible ban on handgun ownership. The arguments that led to Monday's decision undermining Chicago's law were infuriatingly abstract, but the results will be all too real and bloody.
This began two years ago, when the Supreme Court disregarded the plain words of the Second Amendment and overturned the District of Columbia's handgun ban, deciding that the amendment gave individuals in the district, not just militias, the right to bear arms. Proceeding from that flawed logic, the court has now said the amendment applies to all states and cities, rendering Chicago's ban on handgun ownership unenforceable.
Once again, the court's conservative majority imposed its selective reading of American history, citing the country's violent separation from Britain and the battles over slavery as proof that the authors of the Constitution and its later amendments considered gun ownership a fundamental right. The court's members ignored the present-day reality of Chicago, where 258 public school students were shot last school year - 32 fatally.
One might think that the continuing carnage in Chicago, despite strict gun laws, would indicate to an honest onlooker the futility, and perhaps the counter-productiveness, of harsh gun-control measures. But not the Times' editorialists.
And since Times Watch aims to please, below are the "plain words of the Second Amendment," since the Times evidently lacked space to provide all 27 words so its readers could judge for themselves whether the Supreme Court had in fact "disregarded" the Second Amendment.
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.