Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Discussing the Second Amendment

When you discuss the Second Amendment with your students, you'll certainly read and discuss District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court's 2008 decision that granted individuals the right to possess a firearm.  You can read a summary of Heller's facts and decision here and the majority and two dissenting opinions here.  This graphic sets out how the Court voted.

And here's a rare interview of Justice Antonin Scalia from 2012 where he discusses his philosophy of constitutional interpretation ("textualism" and "originalism") and how they inform his position on gun control.  (The gun control discussion starts at 3:41).

Heller certainly did not end the debate between Second Amendment and gun-control advocates, and there are any number of good current-event examples to bring that point home.  One example just happened today in Virginia, which announced a change in its policy regarding concealed weapons permits issued by other states.  Previously, Virginia had entered into "reciprocity agreements" with 30 states that allowed anyone with a valid handgun permit from those states to carry firearms in Virginia.

Today, though, it announced that it was revoking 25 of those agreements effective February 1, 2016.  As a result, it will soon be illegal for anyone holding a carry permit from any of those 25 states to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia.

Virginia's decision was hailed by gun control supporters as a "significant step forward in protecting public safety in Virginia."  Opponents, however, called the decision "one of the most galling and senseless gun grabbing moves that Democrats have perpetrated during their ongoing failed campaign against the Second Amendment."

Great fodder for a class debate, right?

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