Vil man vide lidt mere om USAs føderalhøjesterets praksis mens man er på farten, er Supreme Court Podcast et glimrende sted at starte. Op til juletiden har holdet bag produceret nogle særafsnit og i lyset af Sandy Hook skole-massakren den 14. december er den ene særlig relevant: Den handler om våbenregulering (teksten kan læses her):

(hent i iTunes)

Podcasten rummer en glimrende kronologisk gennemgang af væsentlige love og retspraksis, men for mig at se er det mest interessante indledningen, hvor det præcist bliver slået fast, hvor selvfølgeligt det var, dengang Bill of Rights blev skrevet, at rettigheden til at besidde skydevåben skulle forstås individuelt. Her et et uddrag, med mine fremhævninger:

[T]he intent of the drafters of the Second Amendment was to protect the individual’s right to bear arms. At the time the Second Amendment was written, it was common for individual-rights provisions of state constitutions to include a prefatory statement of purpose. The common-law rule inherited from England dictated that the effect of a preamble was only to clarify, and not to restrict the effect of, the operative part of the law.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by English republican views on the relationship between arms and democracy. This theory, espoused by Blackstone and other seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English political theorists, held the citizen’s ability to bear arms and use them to defend his rights to be a crucial component of political independence. An armed population was vital to protect against both foreign threats and the threat of a standing army, which could become an instrument of governmental tyranny. The Federalists, who supported a strong centralized government, and the Antifederalists, who preferred local autonomy, agreed on the importance of the individual right to bear arms. The lack of recorded debate over the Second Amendment underscores this point; what little there is relates to the idea that no religiously scrupulous person should be compelled to bear arms, but never questions that those who desire arms should be allowed to have them.