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June 26, 2008


WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- The Supreme Court today issued a judgment that anybody who can understand the grammar of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has a right to bear arms. The judgment defends the right of individuals to protect themselves in their homes with firearms as long as they can parse the turgid, arcane, Latinate grammar used by the framers.

Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice John Paul Stevens argued over the ambiguous text for several hours today before the court handed down a 5-4 decision striking down a Washington, D.C. law restricting gun ownership.

Scalia argued that just because there is a prefatory clause with no subordinate clause in the Second Amendment does not mean a man does not have the right to brandish firearms. Better yet, knowing such grammar—a Latinate idiosyncrasy of 18th Century writing that uses the long lost absolute ablative case—will likely ensure that the person is responsible and well-educated.

"As far as you know," Scalia added.

Asked about the decision, unemployed postal worker Derrick James of Covington, Kentucky exclaimed, "Woo-hoo! I think."

The Second Amendment says explicitly: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

James replied: "Huh?"

"Well, I don't know how explicit that is," said Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent. "I mean, this is the 21st Century. We use subordinate clauses now. I don't see why it says what people think it says. I mean … gosh, if that first comma weren't in there, maybe we'd having something."

Justice Scalia preached calm on the decision today.

"The framers were very clear about the Second Amendment, which states very clearly something along the lines of: 'If you can read this, you can own a gun.' It's like one of those bumper stickers—if you can read this, you're too close, that kind of thing."

When asked what the ablative case was, exactly, Justice Scalia said, "Here's an example: 'The judgment allowing guns in D.C. being handed down, Justice Scalia shall dive under his desk.'"

"Do I get my gun or not?" asked Dolores Hickey of Butte, Texas, as she waited with three children in the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart. "I've got a few children here I need to start protecting right now."

Legal expert Marshall Lyons, a professor at Georgetown Law and chairman of the conservative think-tank the American Society For a Better People, said, "There is absolutely no reason why the text of the Constitution is ambiguous about you buying a sweet, sweet Rossi model 461 snub-nosed revolver with a 2 inch barrel, a 1:16.5" barrel twist and a six-round capacity, especially on the very dangerous streets of Washington, D.C. It says very clearly that you can have a gun if you can diagram sentences."

From Eric Rasmussen's blog: