SCOTUS ruling shows how far gun rights have come

Topping last week’s legal stories was the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago, holding that the Second Amendment — which the Supreme Court just two years ago interpreted to protect an individual right to own a gun — also protects the individual right to own a gun against state and local interference.

Many people were unimpressed, regarding this as a statement of the obvious. Others — like Rush Limbaugh — were alarmed, noting that what should have been an obvious statement of a right specifically protected in the Constitution nonetheless made it by a bare 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court.

Both of these views have their merit, but because I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, let me offer a positive lesson from this experience, one with relevance for today’s motivated Tea Party activists and depressed conservatives and libertarians alike. Because the story of the Second Amendment, and of gun rights generally, over the past two decades is a story that offers hope for those interested in protecting and restoring liberty in all sorts of areas.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a Democrat outside of the party’s deepest-blue sanctuary cities who will argue against private ownership of guns. Even Al Sharpton reports that 90 percent of his talk show listeners are happy with the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of an individual right to arms. But less than 20 years ago, it was a different story altogether.