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Ninth Circuit: Supreme Court Handgun Case Doesn’t Cover All Weapons

The Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished decision in the case U.S. v Gilbert on July 15 holding that the recent Supreme Court Second Amendment case does not give people the right to own automatic weapons and sawed off rifles. The court stated

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___ (2008), holding that the Second Amendment protects a limited individual right to possess a firearm-unconnected with service in a militia-does not alter our conclusion.  Under Heller, individuals still do not have the right to possess machineguns or short-barreled rifles, as Gilbert did, and convicted felons, such as Gilbert, do not have the right to possess any firearms.  Id., Slip. Op. at 27.

Since the Supreme Court decided the Heller case there has been much speculation regarding the scope of the ruling. Would this open the flood gates to unrestricted ownership of handguns and permit the ownership other types of weapons, like assault rifles. The Ninth Circuit opinion says that it does not.

(Crossposted at DailyKos.)

The Gun Control Decision Is Good For Obama And Democrats

Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision striking down the District of Columbia ban on hand gun ownership. Contrary to what some may think, the world has not been turned on its head, except that a rallying cry for the NRA and other forces that have used gun control as a wedge issue against Democrats for decades has been partially neutered.

The Court held that the second amendment right to bear arms is an individual, not just a collective right associated with having a state militia. But, it is still a limited right and is not totally disconnected from the concept of a militia. The court basically held that at the time of the founding the weapons that people had for personal protection are the same weapons they brought to their service in the militia. It is those weapons that the court says are covered by the Amendment.

Five Reasons Why FISA Bill May be Worse Than You Think

The House passed FISA bill is bad legislation for many reasons, but these are the five biggest problems I see.

Politically Unnecessary

When addressing a bill with so many substantive issues I hate to start out with the politics of the matter but in this case it seems necessary. There can be no doubt the Democrats who support this bill do so in the belief that their support will protect them from charges they are soft on terrorism. That belief is misplaced. In the upcoming election the only card the Republicans have to play is the fear card. Every Democrat will have to face the “soft on terrorism” charge irrespective of how they vote on this or any other piece of legislation. Why? Because the fear card is premised on a lie, and that lie will be repeated over and over again.

Gas Tax Holiday Could Become a Permanant Vacation

Ever since McCain and Clinton proposed and Obama opposed a Gas Tax Holiday, a proposal to repeal the 18.4 cent Federal tax on gasoline for the summer months, there has been near universal condemnation of the idea from a policy standpoint. There is another aspect though that is arguably worse. If enacted, the “holiday” would become a political football in the general election and runs the risk of becoming a permanent vacation.

Before getting into that, here is a little discussion of the policy debate. It can be skipped by those who have been following this issue closely.

The Truth About Military Commissions Laid Bare at Guantanamo

Yesterday, Monday April 28, 2008, the man who used to be the Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo  gave sworn testimony that puts the lie to the farce of the of the Military Commissions AcT (MCA) proceedings being used to try alleged terrorists. Col. Morris Davis told the tribunal hearing the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan that

Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.

“He said, ‘We can’t have acquittals,’ ” Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. ” ‘We’ve been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.’ “

(Note, there is no transcript available at this time.)