Many of of us who were taught in American schools were told that the Civil War was not over slavery.
The issue was states' rights.
Putting aside the fact that it obviously was fought over slavery, we also were taught in schools that the states' rights issue protected Southern slave-holding states.
Numerous Court decisions enforced that view.
But in fact the states' rights of northern, anti-slave states were ignored. They had passed laws prohibiting slave-holders seizing slaves who had gotten on the Underground Railroad and reached abolitionist territory.
The federal courts overturned these laws.
The irony now is that states' rights may be used to dramatically expand gun control.
This week, while Congress refused to pass stronger laws even after Orlando, the U.S. Supreme Court took a different stance. By not acting.
The court refused to hear a case challenging a law banning semi-automatic guns in Connecticut. The law was passed after 26 died at the Sandy Hook school.
Also, in a separate case in California, a federal appeals court ordered two counties to follow state law that required people carrying concealed weapons to have permits. The counties had said no permits were needed.
Most states require permits for concealed carry.
The Supreme Court is short one member, split between conservatives and liberals. The betting is that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency there will be a court open to state laws that more carefully control guns.
Then the issue becomes whether a state should have such a right. It has long been the opinion of right-wing Republicans that states should decide things such as abortion. Could gun control soon be among them?
It worked, though slowly for same sex marriage.
It may not be the fastest way to bring sanity to U.S. gun policy but it may work.
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Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.