Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thoughts on Heller

I just got done watching the C-Span coverage.

Some quick thoughts here while I digest everything.

Dick Heller is not the most articulate guy.

Alan Gura... I'm not completely happy with his performance though he did make several good points. His seeming acceptance of registration irks me. His apparent (unless I heard him wrong) willingness to allow some guns to be banned, but not others doesn't jibe with the second amendment, particularly the part that goes "...shall not be infringed." If one were to go along with the Miller case, the ban on machine guns and short barreled shotguns is also un-constitutional, but he seemed happy with it.

The opposing council Walter Dellinger seemed to struggle at times in trying to uphold the ban under questioning from the justices. Maybe it's because the ban is un-constitutional.

Paul Helmke and Dennis Henigan got some face time in after the contingent from D.C. got their turn at the microphone. They didn't offer anything new, just the same old Brady talking points.

Adrian Fenty and his Police Chief kept saying that the murder rate has gone down since the ban and that it's a public safety issue. I wonder what statistics they're looking at to come to this conclusion. My every account the murder rate has skyrocketed and is completely out of proportion with the rest of the country. If it really was a public safety issue like they said it is, then they'd allow people the same right everyone else enjoys, the right to defend themselves. The BOR does not stop at the D.C. border, it applies to all Americans.

Over all, most of the justices I heard seemed to be supportive of the second amendment. I guess we'll find out in June what their decision is, but my gut feeling is they will strike down the D.C. gun ban and leave the second amendment as an individual right.

...but I could be wrong.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal's analysis seems to be spot on from what I heard during the oral arguments.

UPDATE II: My initial impression of Dick Heller was based on a short interview broadcast on C-Span in which his answer to why he felt he should be allowed to have a gun was the "An armed society is a polite society." quote. Not the best answer to give to the press. However, my estimation of him has changed for the better after reading the following:
"Speaking with him [Dick Heller] on the Supreme Court steps after the arguments - and his long question-and-answer period with the media, I asked him how he felt about “his” lawsuit.

"It's a simple case to me," Heller said, "It is wrong for the government to tell me that it is OK for me to have a gun during my work hours, but illegal for me to have a gun when the only thing I want to protect is me."

At that point, a reporter interjected: "the Mayor (DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) says the handgun ban and his initiatives have significantly lowered violent crime in the District. How do you answer that, Mr. Heller?"

The initial answer certainly wasn't expected - Dick Heller laughed. Ruefully.

Pointing at the Mayor who was making his way across the plaza, surrounded by at least six DC police officers, Heller said, "the Mayor doesn't know what he's talking about."

"He doesn't walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards - to keep him safe. But he says that I don't have the right to be a force of one to protect myself. Does he look like he thinks the streets are safe?"

There was no follow-up question."

I wish I could find video of this, but odds are it never made it to the air, knowing what I do about the media bias against guns.