Vice Squad
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
The Penumbra of Lawrence v. Texas?

Then-guest-blogger-now-Squad-member Nikkie apologized for veering off-topic when she discussed the Wilmette, Illinois incident in which a homeowner used a handgun to shoot an intruder; handgun ownership is verboten in Wilmette. But Nikkie blogg'ed better than she knew, in that the homeowner is appealing to vice to beat the rap. From today's Chicago Tribune (registration required): "A Wilmette man who was cited for violating the village's handgun ban after he shot an intruder in his kitchen has invoked U.S. Supreme Court rulings on sodomy and pornography laws to argue that the gun ban violates his privacy rights, his lawyer said." The sodomy case is Lawrence v. Texas -- undoubtedly the lawyer was impressed by previous Vice Squad analysis on the potential ramifications of Lawrence. The pornography case, presumably, is Stanley v. Georgia (1969), in which the US Supreme Court held that mere possession of obscene material in one's home could not be prohibited, even if production and distribution could be so prohibited. (The criminal law's tolerance of possession of obscene materials does not apply to child pornography, however.) The Trib reports that this novel constitutional argument against the handgun ban is unlikely to prevail: "... legal experts said that although the defense strategy is original and possibly unprecedented, it is a long shot, because the courts have wide latitude to determine what is protected under constitutional privacy guarantees."

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