3 years, 8 months ago
As for what happened in the national election, I tend to feel rather like Mark Steyn. There will be much to discuss in the coming days (the price for guns and ammunition will increase, war will come to the Middle East because Israel will not allow Iran to complete a nuclear weapon – with or without the U.S., the Strait of Hormuz will be closed and the cost of gasoline will skyrocket, the national debt will continue to pile up because the hated “rich” cannot possibly buy our way out of it, the dollar will continue to sink as our Keynesians at the Federal Reserve prop up the world’s economy by printing more money, etc.). There is a veritable smorgasbord of deadly traps awaiting our naive country. There will be time to cover all of that. But on a positive note, there is a significant gun rights victory to celebrate from Louisiana.
Louisiana on Tuesday became the first state to establish the “strict scrutiny” standard regarding gun laws in its constitution.
Amendment No. 2, approved by 75 percent of the voters, requires strict scrutiny of any proposed restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.
It requires courts, if asked, to determine whether gun laws demonstrate a compelling governmental interest and are narrowly defined. If not, they are deemed unconstitutional.
Opponents claimed the standard would make it more difficult to regulate guns for the well-being of all.
Greater difficulty in regulating guns is what the majority of voters apparently favor.
The amendment got the most pre-election attention of nine on the ballot.
As I (a non-lawyer) tried to explain:
There is the rational basis test, intermediate scrutiny, and strict scrutiny. On the rational basis test, it is important whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. It may not even matter whether there is an actual interest at stake. If a court can hypothesize a legitimate interest, then the challenge fails.
Under intermediate scrutiny, it is important whether a law or policy being challenged furthers an important government interest in a way that is substantially related to that interest. Under strict scrutiny, there must be a compelling governmental interest as a basis for the law, the law must be narrowly tailored to achieved that interest, and if there is a less restrictive means of achieving that interest, the challenge succeeds.
This would be an important amendment. Many states grant deference to local governments in the application of more restrictive laws. One such example would be the changes made to my own state of North Carolina early in 2012. Carry of weapons in state and local parks is now legal (and the Castle doctrine is adopted state-wide), but there are municipalities and cities that have chosen more restrictive regulations for their area.
Louisiana has just become the most gun-friendly state in the country. And I continue to assert that the best defense against attacks on our gun rights occurs at the state and local level. Louisiana is now an example for us all to follow, so we can move from celebrating the victory to emulating Louisiana. And Bobby Jindal, who strongly supported the amendment, is looking mighty good.