The infamous line that was uttered by Clint Eastwood ‘s character, Harry Callahan from the 1983 film Sudden Impact.
This morning Associate Justice Antonin Scalia made the day of every weapons of mass destruction lover’s day. During an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Wallace asked the Supreme Court Justice about gun control, and whether the Second Amendment allows for any limitations to gun rights. In Scalia’s opinion, under his principle of “originalism”, if the weapon can be “hand held” it probably still falls under the right to “bear arms”:
Referring to the recent shooting in Aurora, CO, host Chris Wallace asked the Supreme Court Justice about gun control, and whether the Second Amendment allows for any limitations to gun rights. Scalia admitted there could be, such as “frighting” (carrying a big ax just to scare people), but they would still have to be determined with an 18th-Century perspective in mind. According to his originalism, if a weapon can be hand-held, though, it probably still falls under the right o “bear arms”:
WALLACE: What about… a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?
SCALIA: We’ll see. Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried – it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons – but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.
WALLACE: How do you decide that if you’re a textualist?
SCALIA: Very carefully.
Law Professor Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago observed in a guest opinion at Jonathan Turly’s blog:
Maybe Justice Scalia needs to see the photos of the carnage a semi-automatic weapon or a shoulder fired rocket launcher can create. Under this thinking, RPG’s might be legal for all citizens to own and carry. Grenades can be hand-held and therefore under Justice Scalia’s warped sense of thinking, they too might be legal for citizens to carry. Do we draw the limit at briefcase nukes that can be carried in one’s hand?
Obviously the theory that Justice Scalia is promoting can be carried to extreme and hilarious lengths. The real scary part is that Justice Scalia doesn’t understand how hilarious and dangerous his concepts are in the real world. [..]
Since Justice Scalia thinks that these kind of weapons may be legal, is it too far-fetched to wonder if the current crop of right-wing Militia’s are free to purchase these kind of weapons, even if they hope to use them against the government?
Justice Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan with a Republican held Senate and the unanimous blessings of the Democrats. Al Qaeda must be thrilled.
N.B.: For more about Justice Scalia and his concept of “orginaliasm” read this article at Huffington Post written in 2011 by Prof. Stone: Justice Scalia, Originalism and the First Amendment