Wednesday, April 27, 2005

International Law Argument Shot Full of Holes

Hey, just because you smuggle guns into Japan doesn't mean you can't own one here.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a foreign court conviction doesn't count as a conviction in the US if you want to go out and buy a gun. Gary Sherwood Small of Pennsylvania was convicted in Japan of violating that country's gun laws. A US law says you can't own a gun here if you were convicted by "any" court.

The Supreme Court says "any" means US courts -- because other countries don't provide the same protections at the US and because something that's illegal there could be perfectly legal here.

Conservatives have been blasting the Supreme Court of late for relying on international law in reaching a conclusion. Oddly, it was three Conservative members of the Court who wanted to give international law the upper hand in this case: Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy.

The Bush administration had also come down on the side of international law applying to the US statute. (SF Chronicle)

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