"Why Can't You Carry A Gun Into a Federal Building"?

That's just one provocative question raised by Nina Totenberg on NPR this morning, as she previews arguments in the Chicago handgun case to be heard by The Supremes today:

The odds are that gun advocates will win this case. The Supreme Court's groundbreaking 2008 decision was by a 5-4 vote, with conservatives in the majority. But now the question is whether a right declared fundamental by the court can be isolated as a federal right only — a proposition that liberals generally have not favored.

And if gun advocates do win this case, expect a torrent of other cases, some already in the pipeline, that test a huge array of existing gun regulations — everything from laws banning concealed weapons to those banning the carrying of weapons in public without a permit, and laws that issue a carry permit only upon a showing of good cause or necessity.

Then there are laws that limit the number of guns that can be purchased at one time; laws that ban assault weapons; laws that ban hunting rifles with optical sights in urban areas; laws that require guns to be trigger-locked or stored in a locked container — even a new California law that requires handguns to micro-stamp each cartridge when fired with the serial number of the gun.

All of those laws could be in jeopardy, and more, depending on how the Supreme Court rules.

Listen, I know some federal courts where you can't carry in a cellphone, let alone a pistol.

And, for whatever reason, no audio transcripts of the oral argument will be made available, so you can forget any YouTube mashups on this one.

Argument begins at 10 a.m.


  1. "gun advocate"??

  2. Totenberg's scaremongering requires one to ignore Part III of the Heller opinion, wherein Justice Scalia wrote:

    "Although we do not undertake anexhaustive 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."

  3. I didn't think that Nina Totenberg's piece was "scaremongering." Nothing about her coverage gave me the slightest bit of pause. In fact, I think that her coverage was fair given the fact that the piece was what, 2 or 3 minutes.

  4. Between the Heller decision and this latest gun rights, etc., case, these are some interesting constitutional interpretation times we are living in.

  5. Would states then be allowed to curtail other rights? No free speech in California? No right not to have soldiers quartered in my home, their masculine torsos and muscular legs etched with the shadows under my soft lighting as they undress in my Florida home? Damn! I want that! Amendment 3 was never a big deal to me.

  6. Nina is scary but her piece was not.

  7. The bill of rights never applied to the states until the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, and even then the bulk of the bill of rights were incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment in the 50s and 60s. Perhaps the better course is simply to overrule all that jurisprudence. States can do what they want; all those gun laws would remain in place. That would satisfy Nina Totenberg (or would it?).

  8. Ghost of Strom ThurmondMarch 2, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    I need to rise from the dead to address two points:

    Firstly, whatever happened to state's rights?

    Second, Nina is a very tough girl to satisfy. You'll have to take my word on this.

  9. "longstanding prohibitions" do not justify the practice. What is the constitutional basis for barring guns from a federal court?

  10. Assuming that Anon at 8:11 p.m. isn't a troll, here's an interesting response from The Volokh Conspiracy:


  11. It won't really have success, I consider so.
    play games


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