In his dissenting opinion, Breyer argued that the Washington handgun ban does not preclude citizens from protecting themselves with rifles. To which Eastman countered, "Breyer seems never to have shot a gun." Handguns are easier to maneuver in small spaces; they are smaller, and hence harder to grab, and they are easier to handle for those with limited upper body strength.
Of course, the worst part of the Washington handgun ban is that it applied to an individual's home. That's right, the District of Columbia was legislating what citizens could have in their bedrooms.
"The NRA could not have written a law better for the purposes of challenge," Turley noted. Do I want more guns? No. I don't want more abortions either, but I recognize women's right to abortion. And if women have a right to abortion, they certainly have a right to defend their bodies against intruders.
In the end, the court settled a matter that had been ruled by sensibilities. When fashionable people can afford to hire security guards or live in gated communities, they tend to think of self-defense as a neurotic obsession of the gauche and overwrought. They don't think they need handguns, therefore no one needs handguns. They are undeterred by research that shows that their gun bans don't reduce crime, because it only matters that they mean well.
So they come to believe that they have the right to deny other less enlightened people the right to choose to defend their very homes -- because they long ago blurred the line between a legal right and personal desire.
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