David Codrea writes for Examiner.com,
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told “Fox News Sunday” that “the Second Amendment leaves room for U.S. legislatures to regulate guns, including menacing hand-held weapons,”The National Journal reported this morning, and that has created quite a media stir.
While treated as a breaking revelation to the point of garnering the headline position on The Drudge Report at this writing, in big red letters, no less, Scalia’s position is hardly news to those who pay attention to such things. The 2008 opinion he wrote for the majority in the landmark District of Columbia v Heller case made that clear, causing no small amount of consternation among gun rights advocates.
“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited,” Scalia asserted. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time’ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.” . . .
In “A View of the Constitution,” which colleague Brian Puckett writes “was the standard constitutional law text at Harvard until 1845 and at Dartmouth until 1860,” William Rawle, “a contemporary of the Founders and the man to whom George Washington offered an appointment as the first U.S. Attorney General,” offered a vastly different opinion.
“No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people,” Rawle wrote in Chapter X, “OF THE RESTRICTIONS ON THE POWERS OF CONGRESS — AND ON THE EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES — RESTRICTIONS ON THE POWERS OF STATES AND SECURITY TO THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS.”