Letter: So sayeth the Court
A 5-4 binding majority opinion of the justices of the United States Supreme Court was issued in 2008 (District of Columbia, et al v. Heller). The Court decreed in favor of a codified right to bear arms for all Americans, not just members of a well-regulated militia (see page 7 of the opinion).
However, limits to the right (called prohibitions) were addressed by the following pronouncement: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever, and for whatever purpose (page 54).”
“The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places, such as schools or government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms (page 54). We identify these as presumptively lawful regulatory measures (footnote, page 55).”
It is interesting to note that the Court opinion that establishes the individual right of all Americans to keep and bear arms also lists the limitations of that right. It was written for the majority of the Court by arguably the most conservative of its members, the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
The 64-page decree affirms almost all legally establish fun laws as constitutional, including the legally established requirement for licensing as in the District of Columbia. The opinion ends with the Court’s traditional judicial affirmation:
“So sayeth the Court.”