On pp. 54 and 55, the majority opinion, written by conservative bastion Justice Antonin Scalia, states: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…”. It is “…not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
“Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller
(an earlier case) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time”. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”
The court even recognizes a long-standing judicial precedent “…to consider… prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons.”
That language refers to many of the gun control ideas being discussed now. Prohibitions on carrying ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’ certainly might apply to assault rifles. Ammunition clips that hold 100 bullets…30…even 10, are hardly ‘usual’, certainly not for self-defense, or hunting.
“..conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” might include requiring that everybody who wants to own a gun has to get a permit, and have a background check, conditions and qualifications that already pertain to purchases through gun stores, but not through private gun shows.
“…laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.” That certainly seems to challenge the NRA’s idea that more guns in schools is a good idea.
And perhaps most striking, the majority ruling in Heller
specifically leaves open the question of whether the public has a right to carry “concealed weapons”, a bedrock claim of gun rights advocates.
Despite these critical qualifications, gun rights advocates say they are protected by the 2008 Supreme Court ruling, yet selectively ignore the many ways the court allows for some forms of gun control. And despite the way the court enshrines gun ownership as a personal right, gun control advocates criticize the ruling, yet selectively fail to acknowledge or try to take political advantage of the ways it gives them the legal ammunition to accomplish much of what they want.