MR. GURA: Well, my response is that the government can ban arms that are not appropriate for civilian use. There is no question of that.And neglect that Scalia said:
JUSTICE KENNEDY: That are not appropriate to –
MR. GURA: That are not appropriate to civilian use.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: For example?
MR. GURA: For example, I think machine guns: It’s difficult to imagine a construction of Miller, or a construction of the lower court’s opinion, that would sanction machine guns or the plastic, undetectable handguns that the Solicitor General spoke of.
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.It's been my contention that these decisions were intended as a way of slowly breaking the bad news that even though it's an "individual right" that term is pretty meaningless when it comes down to the ownership and possession of deadly weapons.
The Wall Street Journal brings the bad news that:
The U.S. courts of appeals for the Third, Sixth and Eighth circuits have all said, in so many words, no right exists to have a machine gun. You can add the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to the list.
In affirming the conviction of Alaskan Matthew Wayne Henry for possessing a homemade machine gun Thursday, the Ninth Circuit held:
We agree with the reasoning of our sister circuits that machine guns are “dangerous and unusual weapons” that are not protected by the Second Amendment. An object is “dangerous” when it is “likely to cause serious bodily harm.” Black’s Law Dictionary 451 (9th ed. 2009). Congress defines “machinegun” as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b). The machine gun was first widely used during World War I, where it “demonstrated its murderously effective firepower over and over again.” William Rosenau, Book Note, The Origins of the First Modern Weapon, TECH. REV., Jan. 1987, at 74, (reviewing John Ellis, The Social History of the Machine Gun (1986). A modern machine gun can fire more than 1,000 rounds per minute, allowing a shooter to kill dozens of people within a matter of seconds. See George C. Wilson, Visible Violence, 12 NAT’L J. 886, 887 (2003). Short of bombs, missiles, and biochemical agents, we can conceive of few weapons that are more dangerous than machine guns.Oh dear. What could be worse? Perhaps the head of the UK's National Rifle Association saying that US Gun Loons are crazy:
Mabbott shakes his head. His reaction couldn’t be more different from that of the American National Rifle Association (NRA) following last month’s “Batman” shooting in Colorado, which left 12 people dead. One member of the American NRA, which is essentially the militant wing of the Republican Party and has a staggering seven million members, actually argued that the toll would have been lower if guns had been allowed in the cinema.
Unfortunately, most people see the picture of the US NRA as an organisation for lunatics, criminals, and just plain whackjobs. Too bad the gunloons don't get that's how they are perceived.