If itís true that the District v. Heller ruling is the first time in U.S. history that the Supreme Court has has directly ruled on the meaning of the Second Amendment, it also seems likely to be the last. The battle has carried on for decades in lower courts, but those cases too are likely to be cut short, if not cut off altogether.
But what about the cultural debate? I noted in a recent post over at The Next Right that the left has largely acquiesced to gun rights. They may do so grudgingly, but for all intents and purposes theyíve given up. ExceptÖ thatís not what I found on some of the most influential leftroots blogs.
Instead, I found significant agreement with the ruling. Not just that, but matter-of-fact statements of support for an individual right that would have been unthinkable even five years ago.
This, my friend, is good. This is an area where we lefties have dropped the ball in a most spectacular fashion. Gun bans such as the DC only affect those actually willing to obey the law. Thatís not a tagline, thatís a fact. We need to crack down on the illegal gun trade, NOT on law abiding citizens.
And I didnít have to look hard. These are all in the first 9 comments. Still, these are comments. How about a genuine top tier blogger? Hereís Kevin Drum:
Iím basically OK with this. My personal, laymanís view has always been that both the history and the wording of the Second Amendment point toward a limited, personal right to bear arms, not merely the right for a militia to be armed. On a practical level Iím less sure whether this is a good thing, since Iíve never gotten into the policy weeds of handgun control and whether itís effective. Still: a rightís a right. The wording of the Second Amendment suggests to me that the government can regulate guns a bit more than they can regulate, say, speech, but that they canít flatly ban them.
This is not to say that support was universal, but even the dissenters realized that gun control is all but dead. And at Daily Kos, Adam Bonin had advice for those inclined to be upset:
I encourage you to read this fully before rendering your opinions, because, well, itís a Constitution weíre expounding here, and this comes up in other contexts as well. Sometimes in life (and in law), there are things that we might desire from a policy standpoint ó like certain forms of gun control, or restrictions on some election-related speech ó which are nevertheless forbidden by the Constitution.
The D.C. law was sweeping in banning the possession of handguns, period. If it were less sweeping, say, you canít conceal the weapon, or you have to have a background check, or you have to wait several weeks or months to receive your gun, blah blah blah, I do not believe that would have been struck down. But the right to own a gun, stop, should not be infringed upon.
How did this one fare among the Kossacks? This one was rated up 57 times.
As Drum hints, there will be state-level debates about concealed carry, gun shows and specific makes, ammunition, etc. But now that a) Heller v. District has affirmed the individual right to own a firearm and b) influential liberal commentators and communities agree, the cultural battle over gun rights is effectively over.