Supreme Court Chokes on Major Opportunity to Uphold 2nd Amendment

On Monday, the Supreme Court, again eschewing the chance to issue a major ruling on gun rights, turned down a challenge to Maryland’s state ban on assault weapons brought by various groups, including the National Rifle Association.

In the case the Court declined to hear, Kolbe v. Hogan, a federal appeals court ruled that assault weapons, including the AR-15, were not protected by the Second Amendment. The appeals court used the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision to buttress its own; the Heller decision included a line suggesting the M-16 rifle, a military version of the AR-15, could be banned by states and cities. The appeals court voted 10-4 for the ban; Judge Robert King wrote, “We have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage.”

Smug advocates of gun control and gun bans in Maryland and elsewhere might feel “safer” with this decision. But all it does is make the world safer for criminals who seek to assault others with assault weapons.

The same people who support gun bans and “gun control” are also self-proclaimed advocates of choice. Where’s the choice in facing either jail/fines or the horrible fact of an assault weapon pointed at you with no option to defend yourself?

What is an “assault weapon” anyway? What’s the basis for making the distinction between an “assault weapon” and (presumably) a “non-assault” weapon? Are we to assume that some weapons are used for assault, while others are not? But anything that’s potentially lethal can be used for assault. This includes a rock, a knife or a hammer. We don’t distinguish between assault hammers and regular hammers, or assault rocks and regular rocks.

Such distinctions evade the only distinction that matters: in whose hand is the weapon? Because the best weapons available — “assault” weapons or otherwise — will always find their way into the hands of violent criminals. Ensuring those weapons never reach the hands of people whose only interest is self-protection will do nothing to stop or curb criminals.

The federal court decision makes the distinction between “weapons of war” and presumably weapons of … non-war. It’s the same fallacy. It’s true that the government of an individual rights-upholding republic will not permit private citizens to form their own armies to use against the existing government. However, we all know that there’s no guarantee that any government will absolutely and always refrain from becoming a dictatorship. Wasn’t the whole point of the Second Amendment to protect citizens not only from criminals in the frontier wilderness or today’s urban jungles, but from the always potentially tyrannical government itself?

The Supreme Court evaded an opportunity to point out the invalidity of this distinction, something that (at least theoretically) five of the nine sitting justices are potentially willing to do. Yet they choked on it. It reminds me of the Obamacare decision. A conservative majority upheld Obamacare not for its constitutionality, but because if the majority wanted it, according to Chief Justice John Roberts, then a majority will have to get rid of it. Imagine if the same standard were applied to concentration camps in a Nazi-like state? So long as those concentration camps were desired by the majority, it’s constitutional.

In the end, the people will decide this issue. No government will stop citizens of self-respect and self-esteem from owning weapons of self-defense, at least not without a major fight. If the majority of Americans do not wish to live under a tyranny, no federal court idiocy and no Supreme Court cowardice will stop them. If Americans stop valuing their liberty and freedom, the core of which is contained in the Second Amendment (along with the First), then none of this really matters anyway, does it?

Last year’s presidential election showed me that Americans have not yet totally given up on a liberty-based republic, even if federal judges and our own conservative-dominated Supreme Court have.

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