No one is proposing amending or repealing the Second Amendment. No one is proposing banning all firearms. That would be unconstitutional, as legal precedent was set in the Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller. In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia wrote, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
But Scalia also wrote: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” And, “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on ... laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
U.S. v. Miller holds 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.”
What is relevant are what measures can be taken to diminish the risk and damage of possible future mass shootings. Are requiring background checks for all firearm transactions simply “imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” as stated above? Are semiautomatic assault-style firearms and high-capacity cartridges “dangerous and unusual weapons," not “in common use at the time"?
It’s time to have these debates. I don’t know what, if any, measures will be taken, but I do know that we shouldn’t let the extreme fringes in this debate make these decisions for us.
— David Hanson, Spring Lake Township