Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Sid Salter: Will Court Revisit Heller?

It’s been 20 years since mass shooting gun violence became part of the national lexicon in America after the Columbine, Colorado massacre.


As is the case in the El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shootings that left a total of 30 dead and dozens wounded in shootings less that 24 hours apart over the weekend, members of Congress expended a lot of commentary on their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their families. But Congress has been particularly impotent on the question of actually formulating laws that might have the impact of keeping us all safer from gun violence.

The 2012 Sandy Hook shootings, with primarily children among the 27 victims, didn’t spur action. Neither did the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting in the shadows of a major casino that left 58 dead and 500 injured produce congressional action.

Not even a shooting that injured congressman at a practice for the annual congressional baseball game brought about any movement in the political stalemate over gun legislation that has paralyzed the Congress for a quarter-century.

Congress hasn’t passed substantial gun legislation since 1994, when a partial ban on making or possessing semiautomatic assault weapons was passed. Twenty years later, the law expired during the administration of President George W. Bush with the support of a GOP-controlled Capitol Hill.

Why Congress is paralyzed on the issue is a complex answer, but the ugly truth is that much of the stalemate is intertwined with whether or not a member of Congress can be re-elected based on his or her stance on guns. Those who support strong Second Amendment protections are labeled irresponsible and irrational in the face of gun violence while those who support strong gun control measures are labeled soft on crime and of making families less safe in their homes.

While the partisan labels in this debate aren’t absolute, the evolution of the U.S. gun debate has skewed heavily toward Democrats supporting strong gun restrictions and Republicans supporting unfettered Second Amendment rights. Introduce groups like the pro-gun National Rifle Association and others like the anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety and the partisan political battle rages in manner in which compromise from either side is a dirty word and for many members of Congress – depending on their districts – political suicide.

If Congress isn’t headed toward legislative measures to address mass shootings in the foreseeable future, what about the nation’s judicial system?

In 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that gun rights did not inure only to those in a “well-regulated militia” as anti-gun forces argued but to individuals – which affirmed the pro-gun arguments in the case and overjoyed the NRA.

But the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia also wrote something else in the Heller decision that the NRA didn’t applaud: “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.”

Scalia would also assert the belief that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and that it is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Despite the sympathies for gun control legislation that rise following atrocities like those in El Paso and Dayton, the fact is that Americans are pretty close to evenly split over the question of gun control versus gun rights – but gun rights activists tend to be more vocal, more politically active and more supportive individually of groups like the NRA.

The Supreme Court hasn’t spoken to gun rights since Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh took their seats on the nation’s highest court. Will this new court embrace Heller or dismantle it? That’s probably far more relevant than fruitless handwringing over what Congress will or won’t do. The smart money, in that bet, is on “won’t do.”

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shooting people like that should be illegal.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could find the link, but i read something not long ago detailing how many of these shooters were on prescription pills that effected their brain. It’s a shocking number. The real enemy is pharmaceutical companies.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change. Republicans control the senate and as long as that is the case, we can expect zero new regulations. The bottom line is that if we insist on having millions of guns in this country, than we are ok with mass shooting of everyone from toddlers to grandparents.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Sid Salter went to law school or has even read how the Supreme Court works on a basic level ... they don't "revisit" or relitigate cases as this title would suggest. They either uphold, overturn, or stay silent on previous holdings ... and don't be shocked, but they do whatever they want and fit their opinions within their own agenda.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear one common sense argument against red flag laws and universal background checks.

Anonymous said...

@12:13, why do you think no other countries have the same issues? They are using the same prescriptions as our citizens and yet they don’t go on shooting rampages. Try again.

Anonymous said...

What good would gun control do except take guns away from law abiding citizens? We have had guns for centuries, yet very few mass shootings. Maybe It is an issue with the heart and drugs, and not the gun itself. Chicago has tight gun control, but look at their statistics. England does the same, but look at the knife attack statistics. If people were armed in gun restricted areas- there would be fewer attacks and they would be stopped. Even the Dayton attacker supported gun control, Liz Warren and gun free areas (so no one would be armed to stop him).
Thank God for the GOP and Trump not backing down to the liberal hysteria of taking guns away. All the Dems want is control- from health care, to changing elections (so they can win), to education, to 1st and 2nd amendments. The GOP may have many problems, but I vote for them just to make sure the Dems don't start taking my freedoms away.

Anonymous said...

If you use the definition of mass shooting as one in which 4 or more people were shot most of the shooters were black and the shootings gang or drug related. Jackson has shootings almost daily. Chicago has multiple shootings daily often with multiple fatalities. If you subtract gang violence and mentally I'll shooters the US has one of the lowest gun violence rates on the planet. The sad fact is that most mass shooters have an extensive history of being antisocial and mentally ill but nobody failed to act over years of warnings. Red flag laws do nothing that current laws cannot do. Already agencies do not report convictions and mental health holds to NICS and people do not pursue involuntary commitment (which disqualifies someone from purchasing a firearm).

Anonymous said...

An idea.... as a former Banker- everyone wanting to purchase a gun should be required to pay for a "credit check" which must indicate a certain acceptable credit worthiness rating ie: someone who has established a reputation of credit and payment responsibility for some period of time to be determined. Punk ass distraught kids don't have credit. I realize they can access weapons by other means. If you do not have credit or are not credit worthy, you are not worthy of a car loan, house loan or should be able to legally purchase a gun. You are not at a level of established responsibility, i don't care what you say.
It will take a multitude of such mini-steps to create problems for at-risk individuals to legally purchase a gun.

I cant recall if the gun purchase questionnaire asks "are you on medications, or have you taken medications for this or that etc? I wouldn't mind signing a HIPPA release if they needed to check. No new gun purchase rules should ever be considered were it not for the one statement the media loves to report "the shooter legally purchased the gun used in the attack".

Anonymous said...

Tell you what liberals, I'll make you a deal:

You can have my Ar-15, as long as we overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Do we have a deal?





Anonymous said...

Tell you what, gun nut at 1:12, you keep your assault rifle and I've give you an overturn of Roe v. Wade along with providing universal health care for all Americans, to adequately care for all the mothers and babies, particularly in poor and minority communities, you want us to think you give a damn about.

Anonymous said...

As usual the author doesnt even pretend to understand the issues or details ...the 1994 assault weapon ban didnt last "20 yrs"....it was 10 years. It ended September 13, 2004. So much for through research on the topic....Its shocking how few gun control proponents actually know the facts on the topic. It's all emotion for them.

And they dont stop to ponder whether such regs they support are even effective. For instance california has extensive regs and "assault" weapon ban laws....oh yes the important stuff like cant have a flash suppressor on a rifle, cant have a detachable magazine of > 10 rounds, cant have a pistol grip...basically a whole bunch of truly worthless ineffective nickle and dime regs that dont do one iota for gun violence prevention.

never mind that Dc and Chi and Balt have some of most strigent firearm regulations yet also the highest firearm crimes per capita.



Statistics reportedly from FBI
There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Do the math: 0.00925% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

• 65% of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws
• 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified
• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – gun violence
• 3% are accidental discharge deaths

So technically, "gun violence" is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many? Well, first, how are those deaths spanned across the nation?
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
• 333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)

So basically, 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities. All 4 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause.

This basically leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation, or about 75 deaths per state. That is an average because some States have much higher rates than others. For example, California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1.


Here's a great link to official FBI murder stats. I'd like to draw your attn to the "rifle deaths" keeping in mind that "assault weapons" are a subset of that heading.

Now look at deaths by "hand guns". And look at deaths by "hands and feet" and whatnot.

And yet all this focus on "assault weapons".


https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls



Anonymous said...

Curbs on gun ownership are a foregone conclusion now. The debate will be about what constitutes “infringement” under the 2nd amendment. And just like Roe v Wade, where a court created a “right to privacy” out of thin air, rest assured there will eventually be a supreme court decision holding that the government has a compelling interest in confiscating certain types of weapons, probably “military-style” weapons. It’s coming.

Anonymous said...

@12:37, can you name a single country that has a higher gun violence rate than the US? Quit spewing lies and accept the fact that your desire to dress up like Rambo is worth these slaughters.

Anonymous said...

Hi 12:30, please read Alan Dershowitz column in today's Wall Street Journal

Anonymous said...

@1:04 - I bet you're in favor of a poll tax as well.

Anonymous said...

The real enemy is pharmaceutical companies.

And to think all these years those on the left kept screaming time after time that the real bad guys were Bechtel and Halliburton.

So how are these pharmaceutical companies prescribing these meds directly to patients?

Anonymous said...

I've heard it said that every new gun control measure is an acknowledgement that all previous gun control measures have failed. The eventual end of this argument will be for a total ban of all guns.

Anonymous said...

The same people who want pot to reign supreme because laws against it are ineffective are the ones who want gun laws ratcheted up (logic and reason aren't their friends). I would commend someone who got beyond politically divisive talking points and studied areas where strict laws are in place (e.g. Chicago, DC, etc.) and figure out why they are abject failures and then propose something based on common sense that might be more effective. It could be tested in the Chicago, et. al. to see if it actually worked BEFORE blanketing the nation with grossly ineffective laws.

Anonymous said...

1:39 I'll give you a comment. Kudos for bringing some actual data to the fight. You will not get a single partisan to care about data, but at least you are a thinking person and I appreciate it. Cue emotional responses devoid of any factual representation...

Jim said...

Okay, how will so-called Red Flag laws even work at the Federal level?
This is a question nobody dares ask.
Here lies the problem. A Federal law will need to be administered through Federal District Courts and enforced by Federal Officers. Congress can not compel States and Counties to enforce Federal code and are barred particularly from mandating lower jurisdictions from spending their budgets enforcing Federal Acts
All I'm saying is the concept of restraining order creation should be kept at a County, certainly not Federal level. In my case the closest Federal Court House is many hours away. Federalize such a process won't speed things up, it will only slow the process down.

As far as background checks
that's not even a component in Mass shootings
The Columbine shooters used straw purchase
Las Vegas was a millionaire who bought all his arms from licensed dealers
Sandy Hook was a young man who had mom buying guns from dealers
same is true of Giffords shooter, the Theater shooter, the Texas Church shooter, and both the insane persons most recently. Everyone bought their guns from licensed dealers, did the paperwork and passed the Federal NICS background check
The truth is expanding background checks is meaningless in preventing these tragic events, as such I oppose doubling down on something that is already easily shown as ineffective

No, I don't have any easy answers
We do not need Federal Red Flagging
Here's how it works people. If you see a family member or friend getting goofy it's on you to intervene. Back mid July a grandmother in Lubbock Texas took grandson in for mental evaluation after he ran mouth about shooting up a hotel. Local cops found an AK rifle, mess of loaded mags, full set of black clothing laid out. He was ready to roll but tragedy averted. Thing is in many of these mass shootings people later step forward telling us they knew he was troubled and gunned up but said nothing
Well as a Nation we need to start saying

The Sandy Hook crazy lived with mom, she knew he was troubled but enabled his madness.
I ask what use are Red Flag laws when most people are unwilling to use them anyways ?
If I dial 911 and tell dispatch "My buddy Joey is talking about murder and has guns" you better believe the authorities at minimum will be doing a Welfare Check on Joe
thing is about no one wants to be the Rat

We won't change anything with more laws
We need to change ourselves

Anonymous said...

Will the courts revisit Heller? Will Sid Salters ever get a real job?

Anonymous said...

Gun control is not about guns, it is about control. The second amendment was not written to provide a way for people to hunt. It was written to protect us from a tyrannical government. Look at the history of countries that have deprived their citizens of the means to protect themselves. It is my sincere hope that the people of the United States of America never submit to such tyranny.

Lock and Load said...

@1:44 PM - Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan...

Anonymous said...

As much as it distresses some to have facts injected into these types of discussions, many (even most) of those who have engaged in Las Vegas-, El Paso- or Dayton-like "mass shootings" bought the weapon(s) from (a) Federally-licensed (FFL) dealer(s) and did pass a background check, and in many (but not all) cases would still pass that background check on the way to scene of the crime. Most of those using firearms in "day-to-day" Chicago- and Jackson-like "gang shootings" use guns acquired by less-than-legal means from outright theft to straw-person purchases and are often felons for whom mere possession is prohibited.

I would suggest that the very real and deadly problem cannot be solved by existing or new laws. Prior to 1968 almost all guns could be mail-ordered and prior to 1934, machine guns could be as easily readily purchased as a shovel, hammer, semi-automatic or bolt-action rifle, etc. Modern shootings, be they "mass shootings" or "day-to-day," are a result of changes in society/culture, not changes in the availability of firearms.

Anonymous said...

How does recognizing that we need to change our state flag, and that Trump isn't the best representation of conservatism qualify Taggart as "liberal"?

Anonymous said...

I was not aware the Constitution was amended since Heller. If the Constitution has not changed, why would the opinion need to be revisited? One could make the same argument with regard to Roe (and many have) even though abortion does not appear in the Bill of Rights.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a major problem for Republicans going forward. Taking such an extreme position against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans is about as dumb as it gets.

Anonymous said...

Taking such an extreme position against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans is about as dumb as it gets

Link? Put up.

Jim said...

Let's stop with this notion that a vast majority of Citizens want increased regulation of basically anything

This is Newspeak blathered by media pundits citing studies applying a very small sample pool of largely urbanites who have land lines applying carefully engineered questions
I was once in that industry and I can easily engineer statistical results, have done it many times for various organizations
for example one can set project calling times between 9 to 5 to increase female responses over male
in short polling often results in trash data

Thing is well less than half of our Nation is truly urban yet most polling remains focused on urban homes with land lines and most of us have abandoned such in favor of cell service have we not.

If you speak with non urban peoples as your polling demographic your results radically alter.

Ask urban folks they love the idea of electric vehicles
guess what, for many of us we have to drive miles to work or to obtain groceries so yeah let's tax gas all up right.
Solar? That gets a great deal of poll support too doesn't it
thing is how well does that tech work much North of the Mason Dixon line
EVs are about a non starter in sub zero environments
Urbanites though have their bus services, many don't even have a DL much less own a car. Hence Alexandria Cortez Green New Deal insanity

I'm only saying please distrust ALL statistical polling
it is largely invalid

Jim said...

and more over:

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/08/05/weekend-gun-violence-mass-shootings/

so no outcry over these Mass Shootings ???

Anon-E-Mouse said...

@ 12:30 #1: you post on an anonymous political blog. It’s obviiyyou suffer from mental illness. All of your guns now belong to the government. You can not hunt, etc.

To appeal, complete form 27b/6, and submit to Central Processing.

Anonymous said...

A federal red flag law would provide resources to enable state authorities to remove guns from people who are in crisis and who are a danger to themselves or others. Our chancery courts and sheriffs offices are more than capable of fairly handling these situations.

I’m also in favor of background checks on ALL gun sales and making the last background-checked owner of a gun criminally and civilly liable for any crime committed with that gun. That is what responsible gun ownership means.

Anonymous said...

@7:48, if you know how to use google, you can find the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. I doubt KF will approve a link. The big takeaways are 70% favor assault weapon ban. 73% favor stricter gun control in general. 91% favor background checks on all gun sales. The only people opposing these things are GOP congressmen.

Anonymous said...

Sid, you are mistaken about Americans being evenly split on gun control.
You are citing the most flawed poll.
If you specifically include forms of gun control...universal background checks, bump bans and military grade assault rifles...90% of Americans are in favor.
It's the NRA membership when individually polled is 50% divided. And, few of them believe in a no control whatsoever.

When it comes to polls, you have to look at the bias of who paid for the poll, the accuracy of the sample selected, and the way the question are phrased.

Anonymous said...

I doubt KF will approve a link.

Lazy ass bullshit on your part.

Anonymous said...

@9:27, I posted the links and as I said would happen, KF did not approve the post. If you are too lazy to copy and paste something into google than I doubt you would go read the info anyway.

Kingfish said...

Im not approving your two comments. Take out the insults and I will.

Anonymous said...

That’s some lazy ass bullshit KF. Is that better?

Anonymous said...

@1:44, Honduras, with 94 per 100,000 people, you smug, Fondren hippie

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