Not Even Scalia Thinks Automatic Weapons Are Protected

From Jeffrey Sachs:

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the new Federal Government established in 1789 from disarming the state militias and replacing them with a Federal standing army. It was a concern that was relevant perhaps for a few years around the birth of the country. It is irrelevant today. Americans do not rely on state militias in 2012 for our freedom from the federal government.

Though Justice Antonin Scalia tried in the majority opinion to use the Second Amendment to defend gun rights, the many sources that he cited are clear that the purpose of the amendment was to protect state militias. One source, for example, declares, that the purpose of the Second Amendment is “to secure a well-armed militia… .” Another source Scalia cited indicates that the amendment covers only arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

Therefore, Scalia acknowledges that the Second Amendment — even in his pro-gun interpretation — only protects arms that would be used in a militia, not the weapons of a formal army. He makes clear that “M-16 rifles and the like” have no Second Amendment protection and may be banned.

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