Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Constitution Day

Op-ed from the Austin American-Statesman:
September 17 is Constitution Day, when Americans celebrate the birthday of our government and the 39 brave souls who signed the document that altered history.

As a Texas jurist, and a concealed handgun license-holder, I know that my fellow Texans love freedom ... and firearms. So no surprise when the Lone Star State combined the two and led a successful 31-state charge in the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the District of Columbia's gun ban. The Court's landmark Heller decision last June agreed 5-4 with Texas that "the District of Columbia's categorical gun ban is markedly out of step with the judgment of the legislatures of the fifty States, all of which protect the right of private citizens to own handguns."

Heller settled a long-fought debate: the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms unconditioned on militia service. Wall-to-wall bans like DC's are unconstitutional; less-sweeping regulations (no guns for felons) are "presumptively lawful"; and future cases will clarify the wide legal middle ground.

Op-ed here. The author is a justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

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