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The Second Amendment Foundation has just won its lawsuit for the right to bear arms against the state of Illinois. It was a 2-1 ruling from the 7th Circuit in the case known as Moore v. Madigan, with the majority ruling that the Second Amendment "confers a right to bear arms  for self-defense, which is as important outside the  home as inside." Illinois gets 180 days to keep its current law in place; after that, it becomes null and void. Background:
http://www.isra.org/lawsuits/#SAF

I haven't followed this case closely, but it seems to me that this is likely to lead to a ruling from the Supreme Court on the national right to bear arms (meaning open or concealed carry of handguns) by next summer. And if the 5-4 majorities in the Heller and McDonald cases remain intact, that would mean that every state and municipality, even anti-gun ones including New York, Massachusetts, and California, must allow the carrying of handguns for self defense.

The reason the Supreme Court is likely to take this up this term, as if they weren't interested enough already, is that there's an obvious circuit split. The 2nd Circuit ruled two weeks ago in Kachalsky v. City of Westchester that New York's anti-right-to-bear-arms law was constitutional:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/114629202/Kachalsky-et-al-v-Cacace-et-al

Also, the 9th Circuit heard arguments last Thursday in three different cases (most notably, Richards v. Prieto, brought by SAF and Alan Gura) challenging state anti-gun laws that restrict residents' right to bear arms, but those are later in the queue.

My prediction is that the Supreme Court continues its Second Amendment jurisprudence and reaches the same conclusions as Moore v. Madigan. This doesn't mean a free-for-all, of course: there are something like 10 million Americans licensed to carry handguns, not counting those in states where no permit is required, and carnage hasn't ensued. Courthouses and the secure zones of airports will remain off-limits, and training and background checks will likely be required. But it will mean, if I'm right, that starting soon after July 1, 2013, a licensed handgun owner from Texas will be able to walk around San Francisco's Union Square, Washington DC's national mall, or New York's Times Square while legally armed.
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charles platt's profile photoPriscilla Jones's profile photoShaun Dakin's profile photoDaniel Brue's profile photo
27 comments
 
America is insane re guns.  The laughingstock of the civilized world.
 
Only FYI that the timing probably pushes the final decision into 2014.
 
+Shaun Dakin Why would you say that? As Declan points out, there are some ten million Americans licensed to carry firearms, out of a nation of some three hundred million. I do not believe that qualifies as "insane re guns."

Really, you need to check your facts before spewing anti-American rhetoric. There are plenty of legitimate complaints that can be leveled against the U.S., but being insane about guns really isn't one of them. 
 
In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States. 

The United States is an outlier, in part, because our gun laws are woefully inadequate. 

http://bradycampaign.org/facts/
 
+James Karaganis facts provided.   I'll ask once not to get personal and then you will be reported for spam to Google.
 
Gun Murders by Country and Population Size 
When the countries are compared on the basis of firearm homicides per 100,000 population, the 
United States remains an outlier.  
In one year, the U.S. firearm homicide rate was:  
y 5 times that of Canada 
y 10 times that of Finland 
y 13 times that of Germany 
y 19 times that of Australia 
y 24 times that of Spain. 
y 44 times that of England and Wales 
A 2010 study affirmed this pattern: U.S. homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than 22 other 
populous, high-income countries combined.  For a summary of the study, see: 
http://bradycampaign.org/studies/view/191.  
 
Your problem is that you are improperly focusing on firearms as a primary causative factor in violent crime. It is not: there are deeper sociological and political issues at work, and simply eliminating firearms (which is not, in a practical sense, even possible) will not actually address those.

That is why cross-cultural comparisons are worse than meaningless, they are misleading.
 
Each year a firearm is used defensively at least 120,000 times and probably more like 1.2M times. That's more than 3000 people per day protected by firearms in the US - almost always without firing a shot.

One can only balance when one takes the benefits into consideration. Do also recall that the American Experience was started in response to the final straw of gun seizure from colonists.
 
+Gene Hoffman Gary Kleck (http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/p/faculty-gary-kleck.php) did a substantial amount of research on this subject, which supports your conclusion.

I do not personally own a firearm, as I do not find them particularly interesting. However, I do recognize their value in maintaining a civilized society. Furthermore, it has always been clear to me that the anti-gun lobby has never been about "balance."
 
People with guns in the home are at a far greater risk of dying of homicide than those without, the American Journal of Epidemiology reported in 2004. For men, the likelihood of death by suicide is much higher if a gun is nearby. And 90 percent of suicide attempts by gun are successful; for willful drug overdoses, the rate is only 2 percent.

Understandably, people buy guns for self-defense. But a gun in the home is 12 times more likely to result in the death of a household member, or a visitor, than an intruder, a 2010 study by the official journal of the Southern Medical Association found.
 
I believe in the right to arm bears. Give 'em a fighting chance, I say. Deer, too. Deer should have guns as well.
 
Shaun, so what? People with knives in the home are at greater risk of cutting themselves. People with electric power are at greater risk of electrocuting themselves. And if I want to kill myself, it's best for everyone if I make a good job of it, instead of waking up in ICU with liver damage, brain damage, or similar. 
 
I believe in the right to Keep and Arm Bears.
 
+Russell Nelson Interestingly, every single person I know who is pro-gun-control has never handled or fired a gun, so it's hard to take their opinions too seriously. I also know some anti-gun people who did have to use a firearm defensively, and oddly enough it changed their mind.
 
"I don't need to fire a gun to know that I don't want to fire a gun." Not a fake quote from a pacifist.
 
+James Karaganis I have fired a gun, multiple times. I even enjoyed it. Whether I am 'pro-gun-control' depends on how you define it, but I am not in favor of, e.g., repealing all existing gun-control legislation.
 
I have to say I'm a bit amused by all these policy arguments about whether guns are good or bad or evil or not. The reason I'm amused is that they're irrelevant: the Supreme Court has ruled that law-abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. (By law-abiding, that means not people who have been convicted of a violent felony, etc.)

It reminds me of arguing over whether Internet speech should be constitutionally protected because it can lead to greater copyright infringement, privacy invasion, harassment, libel, etc. After a series of Supreme Court decisions starting in 1996, those policy arguments became almost entirely irrelevant: it's an individual right protected by the full force of the Bill of Rights. Protecting that right may be a good decision or a bad decision, but unless you're proposing a constitutional amendment, you kinda have to admit that these particular rights exist and aren't going away.
 
+Gene Hoffman Thanks -- you've followed this much more closely than I have. I just glanced at last year's briefing schedule in the Obamacare case, and based on the lead time in those, it's possible that the court could hear arguments this term. But, as you said, it's more likely to slip to the fall.
 
What is the principle that immunizes "courthouses and the secure zones of airports"?  What is the principle that says that a public courthouse can deny guns why a public sports facility can not?  And what differentiates "secure zones of airports" from a county-run hospital?

The point of this question is that the US Supreme Court seems to be accepting a lot of absolutist logic - such as is being espoused by Verizon to claim that regulations that require them to have things like backup power for emergencies infringe on their corporate free speech.

Supreme court jurisprudence tends to divide things into categories.  One category, which seems to be where this gun stuff is going, is that the gummit must demonstrate an actual compelling need.  Another category, which is more common, involves a balancing act.  It seems like there is a lot of pressure to move things from the balancing category into the compelling-need category.  That seems, to me, to be a bad thing.
 
+Karl Auerbach My intent was just to list those as shorthand for what Scalia's majority opinion in Heller described as "sensitive places." Excerpt: "nothing in our opinion should 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."

In reality future cases for the next half decade or so will be the ones that define the contours of what government facilities can constitutionally prevent the otherwise legal carrying of handguns. Take a look at Don Kilmer's Nordyke case (Alameda fairgrounds) for a bit on that doctrine.

You'd think that the right to bear arms should be the rule, and "sensitive places" the exception, but if you listen to the audio of last week's 9th Circuit's arguments you'll see that it can have a rather elastic definition, at least when state and local governments want to do some creative stretching.
 
I guess The Atlantic can be counted upon to belabor the obvious. A more interesting point to me is that the movie-theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado occurred in a town where a local law prevents people from carrying a concealed firearm, displaying a firearm, or carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Therefore it was a safe bet that no one in the movie theater would be armed. In most cases, people who want to kill a lot of other people choose locations where they can be confident that their targets are unarmed. Hence the popularity of schools as a venue. Stricter gun control would simply make their choice easier.
 
Your last sentence should read "a Texan with a concealed handgun license" because we do not have to register our guns or have licenses to own one. While researching for my Washington Times piece this weekend, I discovered that 2% of Texans have their CHLs and the numbers are growing rapidly in response to the rampage shootings in the news. California vs. Texas on gun control: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/american-humor-texas-grit/2013/feb/23/targeting-gun-control-california-vs-texas/
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