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An opening for gun control after Colorado shooting and charges on James Holmes

Even as Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes faces 24 murder charges, a conservative Supreme Court justice speaks out on gun control and legal limits on gun rights.

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In this courtroom sketch, suspect James Holmes, third from right, sits in court July 30 during his arraignment where he was formally charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20.

Jeff Kandyba/AP Photo

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In the 11 days since the Colorado shooting, in which James Holmes allegedly killed 12 people during a screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises,” at least one national leader has spoken out definitively about what legislators can do about gun control.

Oddly enough it was Justice Antonin Scalia, the most outspoken conservative on the US Supreme Court and a notable defender of the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear” arms.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Justice Scalia offered a useful reminder that the high court’s 2010 decision on the Second Amendment does not preclude all government restrictions on guns.

“My starting point and ending point probably will be what limitations are within the understood limitations [of what 18th-century America] had at the time,” Scalia said.

Speaking from an “originalist” view on what the Constitution meant to the Founding Fathers, he added: “They had some limitation on the nature of arms that could be borne. So, we’ll see what those limitations are as applied to modern weapons.”

He cited the example in early America of “locational limitations” on where weapons could be carried as well as laws against frightening weapons, such as a “head ax.”

“It will have to be decided in future cases,” Scalia said.

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