Randy Holben: Leave it to courts

January 18, 2013 

Leave it to courts

As I study the proposals to implement laws on gun ownership, I hear a lot of wishful thinking.

The wording of the Second Amendment is easy to interpret in any way the reader chooses, but as with all law it is dependent upon precedents rendered in previous cases.

I am not a lawyer, but a quick overview of precedent law indicates that the courts have already determined a citizen’s right to own a firearm, so that question is settled. What may be questioned is the type of weapon a person may own. Current law requires that sawed-off shotguns, for example, be registered. Likewise, automatic weapons are illegal.

It seems to me that additional restrictions on the type of weapons it is permissible to own is an open question to be resolved by the courts after laws are enacted. The question is, how much firepower is admissible under the Second Amendment?

It is well within the government’s purview to propose restrictions on the type of weapons allowed to private citizens, and it would be the responsibility of the courts to determine how those regulations would meet the test of constitutionality – not the NRA, Piers Morgan or talk show hosts.

Randy Holben

Raleigh

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