The verdict is now in from the U.S. Supreme Court–the Second Amendment means what it says. In a historic 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that no government entity–local, state, or federal–can totally ban handguns from law-abiding, local citizens.
As Associate Justice Scalia stated in his majority opinion, “The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. Those include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”

Scalia’s majority opinion is a masterpiece of jurisprudence and sound legal reasoning. In the future, when anyone asks what someone means when they say they want federal judges who are “strict constructionist, original intent jurists,” one need simply refer them to Justice Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller as the prime example of what such a jurist’s opinions will look like.
The delight of those who believe that the Second Amendment does guarantee the individual right to “keep and bear arms” is tempered by the fact that four justices (Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer) disagreed vehemently with the majority (Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito). The stark reality is the individual right to “keep and bear arms” rests currently on the fragile foundation of a single Supreme Court justice’s vote.
The next president could quite possibly nominate judges who fill up to three Supreme Court vacancies–yet one more issue for American voters to ponder as they prepare to cast their ballots for the 44th president of the United States this November.
More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad