63 Minutes Before the Bench

Debate will continue until June after Tuesday's oral arguments in McDonald v Chicago.

It lasted 63 minutes, but when all was said and done ... there will be a lot more said and done.

Until June, of course, when the Supreme Court will issue its ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, which could determine the extent that local governments can limit the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.

As Larry Keane, NSSF Senior VP & General Counsel, reports in an account filed on opposingviews.com hours after oral arguments ended at 11:16 a.m. Tuesday, attorneys focused more on how states incorporate the Second Amendment rather than should it be incorporated.

Keane writes: "Lawyers ... Alan Gura on behalf of the petitioners, McDonald, et. al., and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, for the National Rifle Association, took two separate and distinct paths in their arguments. Gura argued that the High Court should reverse the 7th Circuit's decision on the grounds that the Second Amendment is an incorporated right through the Fourteenth Amendment's 'privileges and immunities' clause, while Clement focused his argument on the Fourteenth Amendment's 'due process' clause.'"

Meanwhile, he added, Chicago's attorney "appeared to concede that a state could not ban guns outright as it would take away the right of self-defense," yet was "attempting to re-litigate Heller, making the same failed argument that the Second Amendment is tied to state militias."

One alarming note: In asking if the Second Amendment applies to states, Justice [Stephen] Breyer "discussed the role of legislators making policy decisions about firearm regulations. He said that the choice for these legislators is between 'guns and life.'"

"I found this comment shocking," Keane writes, "as it implies that guns equal death, completely disregarding the fact that firearms are used three to five times more often in self-defense [thereby saving lives] than in the commission of a crime."

For more, click here. Transcript of oral arguments here.

Related: