Today's decision means that going armed isn't a privilege, like driving a car on the public roads. Its a fundamental right. You don't need any kind of permit to exercise your right to self defense. The majority opinion gives using a firearm to effect self-defense in the home as an example, but neither the 2nd Amendment nor today's decision limit self defense to the home.
The Second Amendment reads, in pertinent part, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" Its clear to me that to allow prior restraint of a fundamental right, as with a permit system, is unconstitutional. The Second Amendment rights now enjoy the same status as the right to free speech. No prior restraint without a truly compelling state interest.
I don't need a permit to publish my ideas and views here. I don't need one to provide for my self-defense by bearing arms.
Update: Commenter Trish at LaShawn Barber's blog reminds us that neither the US Constitution nor the Heller decision grant us the right to keep and bear arms. Our fundamental, inalienable rights come from God, our Constitution only enshrines them.
Rubbing it in:
I want to apply for a permit to exercise my rights.
The more I think about it, the more it pisses me off that no one sees this important point. Here are a few more reasons to burn your gun purchase and carry permits, rescind your gun registration, and to disband The "F" part of the BATF.
- It is already illegal for bad people to have guns, in much the same way as it is illegal for bad people to vote.
- It is already illegal for otherwise good people to do bad things with guns. Murder and armed robbery, for example, are crimes no matter what the weapon and no matter who does it. Gun licensing and registration schemes do nothing to change this fact.
- Lack of a permit or license never stopped one single person that used a gun to do wrong from doing so.
- All license schemes, permit systems and registration requirements are subject to political and personal abuses. The elites always have guns or hired gunmen. So-called "Saturday Night Special" bans were all designed to disarm poor folks; they certainly weren't consumer protection laws.
- If wussies ever take over the government in toto, your registration or license will help the government to confiscate your weapons. You won't be able to resist tyrants.
- Lack of a license or permit system is no impediment to 'enhanced sentencing' for gun criminals.
If you are dead set on involving a bureaucracy with our Second Amendment rights, why don't you lobby for un-permits? Insane cats, known criminals, etc. could be issued papers forbidding them from having or carrying arms. Like pedophiles are forbidden from living near playgrounds and malicious hackers from having computers.
Of course, people being what they are, sooner or later the un-permit system would be corrupted. Not in favor with some judge? You get an un-permit. Can't pay off a crooked official? You get an un-permit.
If you think it foolish of me not to trust my fellows or any government made up of my fellows very much, remind yourself of the raison d'être for the Second Amendment. It wasn't to secure the rights of duck hunters and target shooters.
Still think throwing out permits is a bad reading of our constitution? Well, what do you think about reading it to allow babies to be pulled from their mother's wombs and killed? Which reading is more far-fetched? Which reading would cause more damage?
Updated: 20 August 2008
You can't be required to get a permit or take a test to give a speech nor to write and publish books, broadsides or pamphlets. How many folks have been slaughtered as a result of these unfettered words? No weapon has ever started a war, a feud or even a duel by itself. Wars, feuds and fights are almost invariably started with words, spoken either in the heat of passion or coldly conceived, instigated and fomented by speeches, books, and pamphlets. Tens of millions of people died in the last century largely because of two books and a pamphlet: Mein Kampf, Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. There are countless examples from history.
I know the drill: you need to get a permit to shout your ideas through a bullhorn, for example. Also: you need a permit to demonstrate on the public streets, that only makes sense. The bullhorn law and the parade permit law are only on the books because some folks thought it would force otherwise irresponsible cats to be responsible. Like all laws, it is pure 'feel good'. I have to wonder how the "Boston Tea Party" would have turned out if the colonists had applied for a permit.
The truth is, there is no effective 'prior restraint' to carrying weapons with impunity. Them as will do it, will do it, regardless of any sensible laws or well intentioned 'lines' drawn. Its this truth that makes grown men and women afraid of life itself, and in that fear, willing to surrender their liberties to laws and states in the unfulfillable hope that government can make men good.
I'm a realist. We were only one vote away from having the shrine of the Bill of Rights torn down yesterday. If they had voted the other way, it wouldn't have made one iota of difference to my understanding of my rights and liberties. I don't need a shrine, either. I'm a free man first and foremost. I'll stay that way no matter what.