Justice Scalia on 2nd Amendment Limitations: 'It Will Have to Be Decided'

By Susan Jones | July 30, 2012 | 7:04am EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says "yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed" on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It's up to future court cases to determine what those limitations are, he said on "Fox News Sunday."

Some limitations "undoubtedly" are permissible, Scalia said, because limitations existed when the Constitution was written: "For example, there was a tort called affrighting, which if you carried around a really horrible weapon just to scare people, like a head ax or something, that was, I believe, a misdemeanor," he explained.

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

"I mean, obviously, the (2nd) amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried. It's to 'keep and bear.' So, it doesn't apply to cannons. But I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be -- it will have to be decided."

Scalia said he would consider the limitations society observed when the Constitution was written -- and then "see what those limitations are as applied to modern weapons."

Earlier in his interview with Chris Wallace, Scalia explained his approach to judging the constitutionality of a law: "Textualism means you are governed by the text. That's the only thing that is relevant to your decision, not whether the outcome is desirable, not whether legislative history says this or that -- but the text of the statute.

"Originalism says that when you consult the text, you give it the meaning it had when it was adopted, not some later modern meaning. So --"

Wallace interrupted: "So, if it was the Constitution written in the 18th century, you try to find what those words meant in the 18th century."

"Exactly," Scalia replied.

Asked about the Supreme Court's recent ruling upholding Obamacare -- and whether Chief Justice John Roberts changed his mind to side with court liberals -- Scalia refused to answer.

"I don't know. You'll have to ask him," Scalia said. "I don't talk about internal court proceedings."

"And, listen, those who do, you shouldn't believe what you read about internal court proceedings, because the reporter who reports that is either: (a) lying, which can be done with impunity, because as you know, we don't respond. It's the tradition of common law judges to lay back and take it. You don't respond in the press. Or (b) that reporter had the information from some who was breaking the oath of confidentiality, which means that's an unreliable person," Scalia said.

"So, either way, you should not -- you should not put any stock in reports about what was going on in the secrecy of the court."

CNSNews Reader,

The media are hard at work weaving a web of confusion, misinformation, and conspiracy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNSNews covers the stories that the liberal media are afraid to touch. It drives the national debate through real, honest journalism—not by misrepresenting or ignoring the facts.

CNSNews has emerged as the conservative media’s lynchpin for original reporting, investigative reporting, and breaking news. We are part of the only organization purely dedicated to this critical mission and we need your help to fuel this fight.

Donate today to help CNSNews continue to report on topics that the liberal media refuse to touch. $25 a month goes a long way in the fight for a free and fair media.

And now, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can make up to a $300 gift to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of your choice and use it as a tax deduction on your 2020 taxes, even if you take the standard deduction on your returns.

— The CNSNews Team

DONATE

Connect

Sign up for our CNSNews Daily Newsletter to receive the latest news.