WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Sunday that there “undoubtedly are” limits on the second amendment’s right to bear arms but that these must be limitations that were viewed as reasonable at the time the U.S. Constitution was written.
A little more than a week after a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. drew attention to the nation’s gun laws, Justice Scalia addressed a series of questions on gun rights while touting a new book on Fox News Sunday.
“Yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed,” he said. “What they are will depend on what the society understood was reasonable limitation” when the Constitution was written. He cited, for example, a misdemeanor at the time, of carrying a frightening looking weapon such as a “head ax”.
Fox’s Chris Wallace asked about weapons that can fire off a hundred shots in a minute, in reference to the recent mass murder in a movie theater in Aurora.
“We’ll see,” said Justice Scalia, referring to the need to wait on a court case that gets at the question. He then volunteered that the second amendment refers to the right to “keep and bear” arms, so that it “does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried…It doesn’t apply to cannons.”
Then the justice asked himself about “hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes.” About that, he ventured only, “it will have to be decided.”
“My starting point and ending point probably will be what limitations are within the understood limitations that the society had at the time,” Justice Scalia said. “They had some limitation on the nature of arms that could be born. So, we’ll see what those limitations are as applied to modern weapons.”R Soft Web Hosting