Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the landmark 5-to-4 decision, said the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”
The following is a transcript of remarks Senator Feinstein made at a Judiciary Committee Business Meeting today, in response to the Supreme court ruling:
“I must admit as much as I knew this decision was coming, I was viscerally affected by the decision.
I remember both Justice Roberts and Justice Alito sitting in front of us and indicating how they would respect stare decisis and precedent – and this decision takes down 70 years of precedent.
I guess I didn’t really think that they would do this. I think it opens this nation to a dramatic lack of safety.
I speak as a former Mayor. I speak as somebody who has gone to homicide crime scenes. I speak as somebody who was lost a youngster that I mentored, who killed himself by playing Russian roulette with a weapon he found. I speak as somebody who authorized assault weapons legislation, who believes that it was working when it was allowed to expire. I speak as somebody who has watched this nation with its huge homicide rate, when countries that have sane restrictions on weapons do not have that homicide rate.
And I happen to believe that Second Amendment does relate to the keeping of a militia. And I happen to believe that this is now going to open the door to litigation against every gun safety law that states have passed – assault weapons bans, trigger locks, and all the rest of it.
Unbelievably, this decision also strikes down the DC trigger lock requirement, which simply ensures that the gun won’t be used by someone who steals it, or finds it, or doesn’t own it.
I think this is a monumental decision. I am profoundly disappointed in Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom assured us about their respect for precedent.
To the ranking member (Senator Arlen Specter), I listened as you talked about ‘super precedent,’ and everybody nodded their head and agreed with it.
And with this decision, seventy years of precedent has gone out the window. And I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it.”
The NY Times motes that “the last time the Supreme Court weighed a case involving the Second Amendment, in 1939, it decided a narrower question, finding that the Constitution did not protect any right to possess a specific type of firearm, the sawed-off shotgun.”