Gun Ruling a Sea Change for 2nd Amendment

Supreme Court's 5-4 decision "takes certain policy choices off the table"
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2008 2:28 PM CDT
"This court should stay out of that political thicket," Justice John Paul Stevens (front row, second from left) said of the Supreme Court's ruling on guns.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court’s decision today striking down Washington's handgun ban represented a change in interpreting the Second Amendment. The court’s 5-4 vote split down partisan lines, the Post reports, with Justices Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito in opposition to Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. "The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table," Scalia wrote.

The ruling is not absolute; Scalia’s opinion makes clear that some regulation of firearms is permissible and necessary. "One should not expect it to clarify the entire field," the opinion continues. Dissenter Stevens, in arguing that the Court broke the precedent that the amendment applied only to military arms, countered: "This court should stay out of that political thicket."