Samuel Alito on Gun Control
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. George W. Bush 2005)
Congress has no authority to curb the sale of machine guns
In a controversial dissent in a 1996 case involving the sale and possession of machine guns, Alito argued that Congress had no authority to curb the sale - even of fully automatic machine guns - if they were not specifically involved in interstate
commerce. In a 2000 case, he wrote in a majority opinion that state employees were not eligible for sick leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. His ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court in a 2003 decision written by Rehnquist.
Source: The Dallas Morning News
, Oct 31, 2005
Right to gun ownership is individual, not collective.
Justice Alito joined the Court's decision on District of Columbia v. Heller on Jun 26, 2008:
Overturning DC's handgun ban, the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a gun for private use--not only in connection with service in a militia. The 5-to-4 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, left unanswered questions, but also much room for continued gun regulation, short of an absolute ban.
HELD: Delivered by Scalia; joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, AlitoThe Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable the citizens' militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
DISSENT #1: Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
The Stevens dissent rests on four main points of disagreement:
- that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended
- that the "militia" preamble demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only
- that many lower courts' later "collective-right" reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis
- and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional.
DISSENT #2: Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, GinsburgJustice Breyer filed a separate dissenting opinion that, even with an individual-rights view, the DC handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right. The Breyer dissent concludes, "there simply is no untouchable constitutional right to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."
Source: Supreme Court case 08-HELLER argued on Mar 18, 2008
Page last updated: Apr 29, 2013