In D.C. v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion today interpreting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to disallow a law in the District of Columbia that prohibited the purchase and possession of handguns. Read opinion here (157 pages, including dissents).
Here is one of the posts today on the topic at The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog. Here is a take on the case that focuses on the comparison of the dissent by Justice Stevens with the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia, as reported by the Blog of the Legal Times.
Apart from the obvious reasons, this SCOTUS opinion has a big impact on businesses. Just ask any owner of a gun store. Of course, the person who lives in Montana and uses a gun for recreational hunting has a different view of the right to bear arms as would a mayor of a big urban city where mostly illegally obtained guns are part of a serious problem of senseless death and violence. Whatever one’s views on the politically charged issues of guns, the opinion could serve as a mini-textbook on constitutional interpretation principles. This lengthy opinion also offers an insight into the hotly contested views held by members of the nation’s highest court who find themselves on opposite sides of big issues like this.
UPDATE: Another post on the WSJ’s Law Blog today here quoted a lawyer who filed an amicus brief in the case who described the Heller decision as one of the most important majority opinions by Justice Scalia during his approximately 22 years on the High Court, and also more broadly referred to the opinion thusly:
"It is not hyperbole to describe today’s decision in Heller as the most significant opinion of this century, and likely, of the last two generations.”