Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fickle Justices Turn Backs On Gun-Toting Career Criminals

The Widget:

Court: U.S. Supreme Court
Judge: Ginsberg
Subject: Guns
Tone: Dubious
Importance: 6.7
A felon who possesses a firearm commits a federal crime. “Career criminals” get fifteen automatic years in federal prison if they’re caught with a gun.

In a unanimous opinion today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to tinker with the underlying statute, which includes exceptions if the convictions have been expunged or civil rights have been “restored.” There were no separate concurrences by any of the conservative justices raising the possibility that this statutory scheme might cause problems under the Second Amendment. Can we read anything into this?

Well, if Profs. Volokh and Reynolds can waste our time touting a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that assumes without deciding (and thus says effectively nothing about whether) the Second Amendment protects individual gun owners, it’s at least worth noting that there are no Printz-type dissents in today’s decision.

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