High court got it right

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

The Supreme Court’s historic decision Thursday gives clarification to the Second Amendment that has been absent for almost as long as the United States has existed.

The high court, which had not weighed in on the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791, voted 5-4 to strike down a ban on handguns in the District of Columbia and restrictions in other cities.

There are just some occasional circumstances that put the citizens’ rights in conflict with what officials believe would be good policy for more efficient government.

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But even if those officials are correct, that doesn’t mean citizens should just forfeit their rights. And if that means government’s job is harder, well, then its job is harder.

The court’s narrow decision indicates that it heard the pleas of officials in areas where a lack of gun control can lead to increased violence. But the court’s duty was to interpret the constitution and it did so correctly.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, the court was “aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country” but said the constitution “leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns.”

Despite any debate about the intent of the amendment (regarding state militias), it is very clear that “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The ruling does not mean the United States will turn into the Wild West. In fact, many restrictions on guns — and who can own them — will remain intact. Very simply, citizens were granted this fundamental right and should not be forbidden from protecting themselves with weapons in their homes.

And even though the weapons of today are far advanced from the ones of the 18th century and the ramifications are complex, the high court recognized and correctly interpreted the forefathers’ intent.