The rabidly anti-gun rights New York Times is in a bit of a pistol-packing pickle. They love them some constitutional rights, but hate OPG (Other People’s Guns—owner Arthur Sulzberger has a concealed carry permit). Et voila! This morning’s bi-polar editorial The Second Amendment’s Reach. “We disagreed strongly with the 2008 decision, which took an expansive and aggressive view of the right to bear arms,” The Gray Lady reminds its base. “But there is an even broader issue at stake in the new case: The Supreme Court’s muddled history in applying the Constitution to states and cities. It should make clear that all of the protections of the Bill of Rights apply everywhere.” And yet . . .
“It is unlikely that the court will delve directly into the gun issues. If it decides to apply the Second Amendment to cities, it would probably send the case back to a lower court to evaluate the Chicago law. If that happens, the justices should guide the court in a way that makes clear that reasonable gun restrictions will still be upheld. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has made clear that it is very concerned about the right to bear arms. There is another right, however, that should not get lost: the right of people, through their elected representatives, to adopt carefully drawn laws that protect them against other people’s guns.” Yeah, sure. Here’s the real bottom line:
At the moment, federal, state and local laws put the burden of proof on citizens to prove that they should be allowed to own and carry a gun. The restrictions—handgun bans, waiting periods, requirements to lock weapons, etc.—are all based on society’s supposed right to protect itself (from legal gun owners, go figure).
If the Supremes uphold their ruling in the Heller case—striking down a Washington, D.C. gun ban—the onus will be on the government to prove that an individual shouldn’t have the right to bear arms. At the same time, it will assert that federal constitutional protections can not be over-ruled by state and local jurisdictions.
So now you know.