Joel Gehrke @ The Washington Examiner:
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for Congress to tighten gun laws in the wake of shootings such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colorado.
Stevens noted that the legal precedent for restricting gun rights —United States vs. Miller — still stands, despite the ruling in the 2005Heller case that overturned the Washington, D.C., ban on owning handguns, even in one’s own home.
“[Miller] was generally understood to limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to the uses of arms that were related to military activities,” Stevens said today during a question-and-answer session after a speech today with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project. “The Court did not overrule Miller [in Heller]. Instead it ‘read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns . . . Thus, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations permitting the ownership or the use of the sorts of the automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado, or Arizona in recent years.”
Stevens criticized Congress for failing to pass such laws.
“I find it almost difficult to accept the fact that, notwithstanding the recent tragedies that I mentioned — you mentioned — how little activity there’s been in lawmaking bodies to address this issue,” Stevens said during the question-and-answer session. “The fact that Congress doesn’t address it, I find mind-boggling, to tell you the truth.” The event began with a video montage newscasts covering recent shootings, such as the Batman shooting and the attack on a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.
He added that the Heller decision leaves the door open to banning the carry of weapons in public. “There’s a very powerful argument for saying it does not extend to disagreeing with local communities about decisions about which public places they should not be permitted to be carried [in],” Stevens said.