In a speech in Montana on Monday, the jurist was asked about the Second Amendment and what arms were protected by that provision of the Constitution. That “remains to be determined,” he replied. As one example, he asked if people have a right to “bear shoulder-fired rocket launchers?” Perhaps they do, Scalia suggested. The answer would turn on the historical understanding of the Framers, who Scalia said included the Second Amendment in part to preserve the right of people to revolt against a tyrannical leader.
Plenty of people have asked the rhetorical question as to whether the most paranoid among us ought to be able to stockpile tanks and grenades and rocket launchers, but it is almost always framed as the obviously ridiculous scenario that nobody but a crackpot would seriously defend. With Scalia, though, you get the distinct feeling that he's contemplating it. Did the Framers intend that any citizen really ought to be able to wander around with a rocket launcher, just in case they felt a government helicopter was infringing upon their daily dose of freedoms? It hinges on the other half of Scalia's pseudo-intellectual fart, on the notion that the purpose of the amendment was not to ensure security, but to encourage revolution. If you claim the intent of the Second Amendment is to assure the right of the people to openly rebel against their government and murder its agents, under whatever nebulous definition of necessary any given group of them might dream up, then obviously muskets would not do; the intent would be to give the maniacs enough weapons not merely to fight, but to win, a possibility that just sent a half-million of them into orgasm just thinking about.