It would be rather like saying “He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled the bucket and died.” Grotesque.After grinding through this, I got home with the kids and two days off. Between good weather and my tendency to get into games that take hours to play, I didn't get to the dissenting opinions. So Justices Stevens and Breyer got short shrift, as I paused writing this Sunday morning to very briefly skim their dissenting opinions (also punctuated by yet another Episode III viewing).
So let me get to the basic analysis and my always insightful opinion, which is about to be interrupted for lunch (and the occasional lightsaber battle).
Okay, I'm back. Let's go:
First of all, let's look back in the founding era. The Founding Fathers faced an king and country that sought to subdue them by disarming them and filling their homes with soldiers (thus the 3rd Amendment). When they created the Bill of rights, its purpose was to secure individual rights against a government too easily seduced by power. The Constitution, in securing those natural rights, sets them out of the jurisdiction of the government.
As for the wording of the Amendment itself, it is divided into two parts by the Court, the Prefatory clause (A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,) and the operative clause (the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.). The prefatory clause, while defining a purpose, does not limit the operative clause, which is the defined right. The use of a pistol (the common weapon) as a means of defense in the home (the common use), is the protected right in question.
And like other rights, it is limited by law to legal activities (murder by firearm being illegal), by protecting the rights of others (using a firearm to deprive another of rights is, of course, illegal), and by some regulation (gun laws). So the limitation is that, while the government can regulate many aspects of weapons, they cannot ban them outright or, by regulation, create conditions where the weapons are effectively banned.
The decision of the Court secures the individual right to keep and bear arms, subject to regulation by the state. Thus, the DC gun ban, which rendered the use of a pistol for self-defense in the home effectively illegal, was unconstitutional.
I will leave the effects of the ruling for another post. I've got some youngling slaughter to watch.