Patterico's Pontifications


Heller Typos

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:10 pm

Eagle-eyed readers of Howard Bashman’s blog noted several typos in the original version of the Heller opinion. Some, but not all, have been corrected in a revised version.

And I have a nit of my own to point out: the justices’ inconsistency (which for Justice Breyer is an internal inconsistency) on whether “machine gun” is one word or two.

In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia refers to “machineguns” as one word at page 52 of the Court’s opinion. Justice Stevens calls them “machine guns” at page 41 of his dissent.

And Justice Breyer can’t make up his mind. He refers to “machine guns” at page 29 of his dissent, but to a “machinegun” at page 34, and to “machineguns” at page 42.

As to which is proper, I express no opinion. Just pick one and stick with it!

21 Responses to “Heller Typos”

  1. To a liberal, all guns are machine guns and must be banned.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  2. Breyer is merely demonstrating his Evolving Standards!

    ras (fc54bb)

  3. “machine gun” is two words.

    assistant devil's advocate (ade679)

  4. “machine gun” is two words.


    ras (fc54bb)

  5. fwiw, Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1969) says it is machine-gun when used as a verb.

    madmax333 (a9a580)

  6. ““machine gun” is two words.”

    However, “machinegun” is only one word.

    fat tony (601b8d)

  7. BTW, British criminals use “sawn-off shotguns.” If we ever see that term in a SCOTUS opinion, we’ll know that reliance on foreign law has gone too far.

    fat tony (601b8d)

  8. Finally, I’m smart enough for the attorneys’ table.

    Vermont Neighbor (31ccb6)

  9. Makes no difference to me which you choose, as long as the meaning is properly conveyed. But me thinks that “machine gun” is the correct term. But who cares.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  10. “Machine gun” and “submachine gun” are both properly two words.

    That’s it. Everything else is wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

    I can compromise on all sorts of grammar and spelling rules. But not this one. There’s one correct way to write it out, and EVERYTHING ELSE IS WRONG.

    The fact that Scalia misspelled it only proves that he and his clerks are NOT gun nuts. You don’t need to be a gun nut to believe in individual liberty. (But it helps.)

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  11. “No officer, this is a ‘machine gun’ not a ‘machinegun’. Clearly not illegal per the text of the law.”

    Kelly T (8ef5b9)

  12. “machinegun” is two words with a missing space.

    Hazy (c36902)

  13. Or hyphen.

    Hazy (c36902)

  14. George Kelly would argue it’s “machine gun”:

    but Roger Corman begged to differ:

    I’ll go with the guy pointing the gun before the guy pointing the camera.

    fat tony (601b8d)

  15. You are all wrong.

    Scalia used machinegun because that is the spelling in the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b).

    slp (1d7c03)

  16. The biggest “typo” i noticed was a factual misstatement of the Miller case in both the Scalia opinion and the Stevens dissent. Both alleged that the Miller court upheld a conviction. In fact, there had been no underlying conviction, but a dismissal of teh indictment which they reinstated. [Neither Miller nor Layton ever got retried for their NFA violations IIRC.]

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  17. To the US Army, its Machine Gun. href=”” target=”_blank” title=””>Machine Gun

    tmac (86debe)

  18. Obviously, I don’t know how to link.

    tmac (86debe)

  19. GoogleBattle

    Google Battle gives a slight edge to machinegun.

    TomHynes (6c3e12)

  20. …and, Sub-Machine Gun, is hyphenated.
    Plus, Miller was about “sawn-off shotguns (short-barreled shotguns), and not full-auto weapons.

    Here is an interesting quote from J.Scalia’s opinion:
    “…The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms…” (emphasis added).

    Sounds like a basis to challenge NFA-34, to me; and, a lot of the crap that has followed.

    But, one step at a time.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  21. It is a machine gun until it becomes a machinegun.

    It is a machine gun ’til it becomes a machinegun.

    It is a machine gun till it becomes a machinegun.

    Funny thing how common usage works unceasingly to bash and trash Miss Roush’s list of unbreakable sophomore grammar rules of 1963. Grammar is undeniably a moving target, whether you use a machine gun or machinegun.

    allan (5259c1)

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