Friday, June 27, 2008

Pete Olson and Nick Lampson: Brothers in Guns

I couldn’t help but note the small irony that this morning Fort Bend Now is showing two headlines nearly side by side, but actually posted 4 hours apart:

Lampson Endorses Supreme Court Decision on D.C. Gun Ban” posted around 11:30 AM on Thursday.


Olson Applauds DC Gun Ban Decision” posted around 3:30 PM later that day.

Pete Olson, it will be remembered is the Republican nominee challenging Nick Lampson for the seat he currently holds in Congress.

So for those of us who interpret the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution as it was written, and not as Justice Scalia reinterprets it (“Militia? What militia”), we will have no representation on this issue in Washington, DC whoever wins in Texas CD 22 in November.

Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me. This is Texas, after all.

And this is one case where I know that Nick Lampson is truly in favor of the decision, and is not just saying this to obscure the differences between himself and his conservative challenger. Nick is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association.

One thing I do know, though, is that while Pete Olson talks the talk about the Supreme Court, he is fairly clueless on what constitutes a “strict constructionist” Supreme Court justice:

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold American’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. Today’s 5-4 decision demonstrates the need for strict constructionist judges like Justices (John) Roberts and (Antonin) Scalia, who uphold the rights of American citizens as our founding fathers intended those rights to be enacted.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Then Fort Bend Now committed the same error that I saw again and again in the news yesterday, printing the false claim that this is the first time that there was a ruling on the 2nd Amendment:

“The ruling is being called ‘landmark’ by legal scholars who note that this is the first time the high court has conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791”

In a 1939 Supreme Court decision Re: United States v. Miller, the issue was decided, and correctly so. The inclusion of the words “well regulated militia” was not a fluke. They are part of the overall idea. An idea that these present-day “strict constructionist justices” clearly ignored.

But that pretty much goes along with what has historically transpired with regard to this issue. Here we have a 69 year old Supreme Court decision that ties the ownership of a gun to membership in a “well regulated militia,” and nothing . . . nothing changed until yesterday. Guns were owned and wars were fought by regular armies, not militias. But yesterday gun ownership magically became an individual right.

It’s almost like this whole thing has been both a skeleton in our country’s closet that no one talks about, and a veiled gentlemen’s agreement that has persisted through the generations.

Applaud and endorse all you want, this decision is going to have some far-reaching effects. Scalia et al. have opened the Pandora’s Box that has been guardedly kept shut since the late 18th century.

The big winners: gun and munitions manufacturers and the NRA. The big losers: everyone else.

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