Scalia will never be a hero to liberals, of course. But his emphasis on originalism and textualism seems to coincide with liberal interests on guns precisely because there were restrictions on guns during the colonial era; his reading of the original intent of the law was that it allowed an average person to have a typical firearm. Indeed, back in July, when he was promoting a new book, Scalia told Fox News that the Second Amendment “undoubtedly” permits some restrictions on firearms…

Heller may allow all of the Obama proposals to be upheld, but one never knows. Still, even as he led the Court to strike down D.C.’s handgun ban, Scalia issued an opinion rich with clues for how he might rule. The opinion talks a lot about weapons that are widely held. When he heard arguments for the case, Scalia said, “I don’t know that a lot of people have machine guns or armor piercing bullets.” He notes “dangerous and unusual weapons.” If gun advocates can make the case that a badass Bushmaster is a commonly held weapon, they might get some traction with Scalia, but if high-powered, semiautomatic weapons with large magazines are considered a subculture, it’s hard to see Scalia voting to strike down those laws. (He’s already made it clear that the Constitution’s phrase “bear arms” means something that you can carry, so tanks and planes are out, in case you were worried.)