Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, decrying America's demonization of guns, is predicting that the parade of new gun control laws, cheered on by President Obama, will hit the Supreme Court soon, possibly settling for ever the types of weapons that can be owned.
Scalia, whose legacy decision in the 2008 case of District of Columbia vs. Heller ended the ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., suggested that the Constitution allows limits on what Americans can own, but the only example he offered was a shoulder-launched rocket that would bring down jets.
And the wily judge suggested to an audience of Smithsonian Associates at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium Tuesday night that he is not just preparing for a new gun control challenge, but that he's softening up one of his liberal colleague on guns.
The long-time duck hunter revealed that he's taken Obama appointee Elena Kagan hunting several times, the last being for big game in Wyoming where she shot a whitetail doe. "She dropped that doe with one shot," he said during an event that featured questions from NPR's court reporter Nina Totenberg.
Scalia detailed his life-long experience with guns and said it started while in high school when he was on a military academy's rifle team. Scalia said he would bring his gun to school on the subway in New York and often competed with West Point cadets.
Back then, he said, Americans didn't go nuts when they saw a gun. "It was no big deal. Carrying a gun was no big deal," he said. Today is a different story, he lamented. "It's very sad the attitude of the public at large on guns has changed so much that they associate it with nothing but crime."
Scalia explained why he wrote Heller, but wouldn't discuss current gun control limits in Congress and the states. "There are doubtless cases on the way up," he said, adding that limits on what weapons can be owned will likely be part of any new decision. "There are doubtless limits, but what they are we will see."