Today, the Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding gun rights in Chicago in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. The High Court ruled that the second amendment, protecting gun rights, applies to state governments as well as the federal government. This decision stipulates that state residents cannot be prohibited by state firearms laws to keep handguns within their homes for purposes of self defense. [emphasis mine]
Two years ago in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense, and struck down a firearms law in the District of Columbia which banned the possession of handguns in the home. It seems that the basis of this decision by the Supreme Court was mainly precedent (the ruling of a former case).
Now, I understand that the Supreme Court wants to uphold citizens' rights to bear arms, but I see this law having immense effects for American women and the country as a whole. My first fear is that now in states where firearms laws banning handguns in the home are in place, the Supreme Court's decision may prompt other courts to rule in gun owners' favour. I understand the need for weapons, I do, but there is not enough oversight, in my opinion, when it comes to gun control in the United States. In many states--such as Texas, New York, Nevada, District of Columbia, just to name a few--there are no registration requirements for weapons, including handguns. It is too easy for anyone to walk into a gun shop and buy a gun without any background checks being done on them. My fear of guns and the Supreme Courts' decision, is ultimately based on these people.
We need to know who exactly are buying these guns and for what purposes. We should not live in a society where five-year-olds can maim themselves just because an adult failed to safely lock a gun away, or where a man can buy a handgun and walk into a gym killing innocent women. I have a fear for women's lives where handguns can be kept in the home--what about victims of intimate partner violence, what about them? Also, think of the VA Tech Massacre of 2007, where Seung-Hui Cho was able to purchase a gun and kill innocent people. He had a history of mental disorders and many had warned against his violent and suicidal behaviour.
This may seem like a stretch, but to me with this new law, it seems to be a very real possibility. We need to have more oversight and more transparency when it comes to gun rights. I'm all for people using guns, but use them responsibly. It's people that kill people, not guns. We need to be accountable for our actions.
What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court's gun law decision?!
For more information on the Supreme Court's decision, check out supremecourt.gov.
To learn more about your state's gun laws, check out NRA-ILA.
*photo credit: The Economist