It is a well know fact that when a right wing zealot is invited onto Fox News, you’re likely to hear the the most extreme forms of right wing nuttiness, while the Fox interviewer barely flinches at the sheer nuttiness. And that rule apparently applies to radical right wing Supreme Court Justices.
Zach Ford at Think Progress caught Justice Antonin Scalia telling Chris Wallace and Fox viewers that under his view of the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, the “right to keep and bear arms” extends to whatever a man not affiliated with any militia can physically carry and aim at another human being, including a launcher for rocket propelled grenades. From Think Progress:
Scalia admitted there could be [limits], such as “frighting” (carrying a big ax just to scare people), but they would still have to be determined with an 18th-Century perspective in mind. According to his originalism, if a weapon can be hand-held, though, it probably still falls under the right to “bear arms”:
WALLACE: What about… a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?
SCALIA: We’ll see. Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons — but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.
WALLACE: How do you decide that if you’re a textualist?
SCALIA: Very carefully.
Well, gee, Antonin, thanks for leaving that one out there as undecided.
Under Justice Scalia, the 2nd Amendment’s reference to “a well regulated militia” is mostly superfluous; it has no effect on deciding who gets to carry lethal weapons or what manner of “arms” anyone can “keep and bear.” What matters is whether a potential mass murderer can actually hold the weapon and bear it into the vicinity of the target.
And since under this right wing quackery, the point has some connection to nut cases protecting their individual notions of personal liberty, and not a “regulated militia protecting the community, then I suppose his view of the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to make sure citizens can be armed with sufficiently lethal weapons, not constrained by 18th century technology, to pose a meaningful threat to whatever institution our now fully armed and freedom loving nut case views as a threat to his/her personal liberty.
We should stop here to recall that the Tea-Party/GOP has consistently maintained the entire Affordable Care Act’s “mandate” is the most serious threat to individual liberty ever conceived in the minds of a Kenyan Socialist, a conservative think tank, or the GOP Presidential nominee. And notwithstanding this serious threat to individual liberty, the mandate was saved by none other than conservative Chief Justice Roberts.
So Justice Scalia’s theory would appear to support the right of any nutcase to purchase rocket propelled grenades and launcher, because you never know when a freedom loving psychopath that any well regulated militia would exclude as unfit for service wants to aim an RPG towards the offices of the Chief Justice of the United States.