The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment means what it says: The right of the people to keep and bear arms – that is, have guns – must not be infringed. While more limited in scope than we might wish, District of Columbia v. Heller affirms that the amendment specifies a right of individuals.
To some observers, the lawsuit yielding this ruling had seemed a bit like tilting at windmills. One skeptic was Glen Reynolds, publisher of the popular blog, InstaPundit. Reynolds, who also teaches law, doubted that a majority could be found on the high court to affirm an individual-rights reading of the Second Amendment.
He now says, “I was wrong, and [Bob Levy] was right. And I’m glad!”
Levy is the Cato Institute scholar who, five years ago, organized and largely bankrolled the suit against the city of Washington, D.C. The city bans residents from owning handguns even to protect their own homes.
Levy notes that Heller is just the “opening salvo” in all the litigation needed to clarify our Second Amendment rights. But at least we now have a “blockbuster decision” that greatly improves the chances of reviving the amendment’s original meaning.
We advocates of liberty must pick our battles. But Heller reminds us that the political landscape and how the struggle itself will affect the prospects for success can’t always be predicted. Levy has certainly proved that this battle is winnable.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.