Thursday, 4 June 2015

It may be legal, but is it wise?

This photo' has been going the rounds.  It is, of course, "over the top" - such is the case in all profound and wry humour.

But maybe it is not far from the truth.
As one of my English nephews asked recently  "why are Americans so obsessed with guns"
It's all rooted in our Constitution.  ( much of the following,   in bold purple) is taken from a Wikipedia article).
The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is codified in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America and in the state constitutions of forty-four States. The text of the United States Constitutional amendment reads:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The big Constitutional question (as addressed at various times by the United States Supreme Court) is framed thus:  "is the governing clause " A well regulated militia", or is it  "the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

In the twenty-first century, the amendment has been subjected to renewed academic inquiry and judicial interest.[11] In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision, expressly holding the amendment to protect an individual right to possess and carry firearms;  thus asserting that "the right of the people to bear arms"  is the governing clause.

But that right is not absolute.    The arch-conservative Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia added this:

He said:
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited....Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, 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 the meantime an resident of Atlanta, GA. asserted his rights under the Second Amendment, by carrying an assault rifle  (not just a simple rifle) into Atlanta's Airport.  He did so to assert his legal rights.


He is  expressing his legal rights. The law seems to be  in his camp.   BUT  "legal rights"  are not necessarily synonymous with the human right to feel safe in pubic places.  Carrying this assault rifle in a public place does not ensure his legal rights.  The Law of the Land, as defined by the Supreme Court does that.

His rights are secured by the Second Amendment, not by carrying an assault rifle in an airport.

Let us hope that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's caveat regarding the  bearing of arms ( laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,) can be applied to privately owned, but publicly accessible spaces such as Atlanta's Airport.

And I wonder why this assault weapon is deemed by him to be important to his right to self defence.  A simple pistol would do the same,

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