27 Jun 2008

A Narrowly Defined Right May Not Be Much Better Than No Right At All

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Ilya Somin, at Volokh Conspiracy, advises Gun rights supporters not to rejoice too soon.

For many years, gun rights advocates have fought to persuade the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. That battle has now been won in Heller. Indeed, all nine justices (including the four dissenters) seem to agree that there is some individual right to bear arms that goes beyond a “collective right” protection for state militias.

However, the experience of the struggle for judicial protection of constitutional property rights suggests that recognition of the mere existence of a right isn’t enough. If the scope of the right is defined narrowly by courts, recognition won’t mean much in practice.

Read the whole thing.

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