The importance of this ruling can hardly be overstated. For years, liberal jurists -- the same people who find abortion rights in the emanations of constitutional penumbrae -- have sought to reinterpret the amendment to allow sweeping restrictions on public gun ownership. As of today, those restrictions are gone.
Remarkably -- and stirringly -- Justice Thomas invoked historical references to underline just how fundamentally the right to bear arms is associated with freedom, pointing out that in the post-Civil War era, legislation attempting to bar newly-freed slaves from bearing arms were disallowed.
Note that it wasn't on an "equal protection" basis, i.e., the idea that if whites could bear arms, blacks could, too. Rather, it was because the right to gun ownership was seen as so inextricably linked with the rights of a free people that law-abiding Americans deprived of those rights by legislation could scarcely be deemed to be "free" at all.
Amen to that.
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