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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, June 03, 2002
11:49 PM

IF THIS KEEPS UP, I'LL HAVE TO START WASHINGTONTIMESWATCH...The Times runs a nonsensical editorial about challenges to the District of Columbia's ban on the private ownership of guns, applauding attorney general Ashcroft's support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and mentioning only en passant that the Bush Administration has "backpedaled a bit." As noted below, this isn't backpedaling, it's adding a tall gear to reverse and mashing the pedal down. From the Post:

In the first of at least three cases that challenge the District's prohibition on handguns as unconstitutional, assistant U.S. attorneys filed motions defending the broad statute, citing a 15-year-old D.C. Court of Appeals decision as binding local precedent.

Bill of Rights--The majestic Law of the Land, provided your local town council approves.

More from the editorial:

It was taken as a given that individuals had the right to keep and bear arms. It was only the willful disregard of original intent and the clear statements of the founders on the subject that allowed Franklin Roosevelt's activist, liberal Supreme Court in 1939 to disavow what had been a uniquely American birthright.

Uh, no guys. What's the matter, don't you read Glenn Reynolds or Eugene Volokh?:

The U.S. Supreme Court has said little about the Second Amendment, but it has certainly not said that the Amendment secures only a collective right. Throughout the Court's history, the Justices have mentioned the Second Amendment, usually in passing, in 27 opinions. In 22 of these 27, the Justices quoted or paraphrased only "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" language, without even mentioning the Militia Clause.

One of the remaining five cases -- and the only extended 20th-century discussion of the right -- is United States v. Miller (1939), which held that the right extended only to weapons that were rationally related to the preservation of the militia. But the Court emphatically did not hold that the right belonged only to the state or the National Guard. Rather, it reaffirmed that the "militia" referred to the entire armed citizenry, and considered on the merits a lawsuit that was brought by an individual (Miller), not by a state.

Then Christian Toto writes a gender-gap piece that could have been lifted from the Post, given its reliance on the usual suspects like David Sadker and the American Association of University Women. Remember, "gender gap" is only used when referring to girls lagging boys. I need a martini.

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