Supreme Court's Decision Will Spark Lawsuits and Violence

The ruling was ill considered and dangerous.


The Supreme Court's ruling on permitting handguns in the home will surely touch off an avalanche of lawsuits by gun lovers attacking any other restrictions on weapons.

That is the sad consequence of the court's narrow 5-to-4 decision overturning the District of Columbia's ban on handguns.

Don't kid yourself. The zealots of the National Rifle Association and their allies will now take aim at licensing laws, waiting periods on the purchases of guns, and any other impediments on the books in cities or states. Those celebrating the court's ruling left little doubt that this was only the first round in what promises to be a long battle in the courts—state and federal.

Officials in urban areas like Washington should brace themselves for more violence. Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago likened the decision to a return to the days of the Wild West, with shootouts as the way to settle disputes.

Justice Antonin Scalia, the so-called intellectual conservative on the bench, authored the majority opinion. Scalia, you may recall, has been a hunting partner of Vice President Dick Cheney. He took umbrage at the suggestion of any impropriety in going with Cheney on a hunting trip while the case was in dispute.

Leave it to Scalia to take vigorous exception to even the appearance of the impropriety of such a thing. Scalia was fortunate he wasn't with Cheney in South Texas when the vice president shot a Houston lawyer by accident and then delayed in reporting it to authorities.

South Dakota is my home state. Hunting pheasants and ducks was a highly popular pastime in the fall.

Rational citizens on the other side of this contentious issue recognize a hunter's legal rights. However, lethal handguns are not the weapons of choice in the fields.

What we oppose is the cry of the other side that any attempt to reduce the arsenals of weapons in our major cities amounts to the first step to confiscation.