Lawyers, guns & money on a Monday morning
There’s a reason nobody likes Mondays.
SCOTUS has once again spread joy through the land in today’s ruling that a Chicago law banning handguns is unconstitutional.
Mind you, the case did not involve hunting guns, collector’s guns, rifles, shotguns, or any other kind of gun that, arguably, has a value beyond killing people. It was just handguns – the number one instrument in America for administering death. And yes, I know guns don’t kill people …people kill people. However, it turns out that when people kill people, it seems they almost always do it with a handgun.
Nevertheless, five of the nine justices of the Supreme Court believe that owning a handgun is precisely what the Founders had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.
Somehow, the majority of the court has convinced themselves that the standards applied by the founders in making clear the right of Americans to organize armed militias were intended to protect the rights of the organized crime gangs who, today, rule the streets of our cities. Gang members rarely walk around with weapons the size of the rifles carried by our militias in revolutionary war times. No, they carry concealed handguns making it far easier for them to commit murder.
While the court did indicate that felons would remain unworthy to purchase handguns legally (like that’s ever stopped them), the field is now wide open for future felons of America to legally buy the handgun of their choice and make their bones when the mood strikes.
With today’s ruling, the final lot has been cast in the gun debate. Prior to this morning’s SCOTUS decision, there remained the question of whether the rights granted by the Second Amendment apply equally to the Federal government and the States. Two years ago, this court struck down a ban on handguns in a case involving weapons limitations in the District of Columbia. However, since DC is an unusual animal – a federal city – the question of whether the 14th Amendment applied to gun rights remained an open question. While the 14th Amendment has been applied to the remaining elements of the Bill of Rights, the question remained open on the 2nd Amendment because of the lethal implications.
Writing for the majority, Justice Alito says,
Two years ago, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. ___ (2008), we held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, and we struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home. The city of Chicago (City) and the village of Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, have laws that are similar to the District of Columbia’s, but Chicago and Oak Park argue that their laws are constitutional because the Second Amendment has no application to the States. We have previously held that most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply with full force to both the Federal Government and the States. Applying the standard that is well established in our case law, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States.
Expect a flood of gun ownership cases to follow. Gun advocates smell blood and will not lose the opportunity to secure complete deregulation of weapons.
There is some good news. This morning’s decision has resulted in the share price of Smith & Wesson Holdings (SWHC) rising over 5%. So we can expect those handguns to keep rolling off the assembly line, keeping one of our most enduring of American aspirations– a car in every driveway and a gun hidden in every pocket– alive and well.
Speaking of money, this morning also brought some very depressing news from Paul Krugman, who writes in the New York Times –
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.
And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.
Via New York Times
Talk about a disturbing start to the week.
I have absolutely no idea if Krugman is right or wrong. However, as I listen to the chorus of naysayers seeking to score political points as they complain about the evils of the stimulus program; and as I watch with wonder as the Senate denies jobless benefits to those suffering without work, I can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary callousness of our elected officials who appear to so easily set aside the tragedy that might befall a large number of our citizens in the years to come simply to better craft their political message.
The loss of jobs is not confined to those living in the blue states. Ideology is of little help or comfort when one cannot feed and shelter their family. And what if Krugman is ultimately proven correct? The politicians focusing on inflation instead of taking measures to fend off a depression – because it is far more useful in the current political environment to do so – will shrug their shoulders, blame the other party and pick up their paycheck every week.
What a country.
One final question for a gloomy Monday morning – will Obama ever catch a break?
While it was sad to awaken to the news of the passing of Senator Robert Byrd, the longest serving Senator in the history of the nation, his death presents the Administration with yet another potential death-blow not of its own making.
We can all recall the difficulty created for health care reform that accompanied the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy. Now, on the eve of passing financial reform legislation and with Senator Brown leaning in the direction of voting against the bill coming out of conference committee, the loss of Senator Byrd’s vote may very well represent a death blow as the Democrats will be short a vote to fend off a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
I’m going back to bed now. Maybe Tuesday will bring better news.