For reasons well stated by Justice Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Smith, 508 U. S., at 241, I would read the word “use” in §924(c)(1) to mean use as a weapon, not use in a bartering transaction. Accordingly, I would overrule Smith, and thereby render our precedent both coherent and consistent with normal usage. Cf. Henslee v. Union Planters Nat. Bank & Trust Co., 335 U. S. 595, 600 (1949) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting) (“Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”).Everyone else on the Court accepted the distinction between giving and getting. Justice Souter finds "the appeal to symmetry underwhelming":
The problem... is not with the sturdiness of Smith but with the limited malleability of the language Smith construed, and policy-driven symmetry cannot turn “receipt-in-trade” into “use.” Whatever the tension between the prior result and the outcome here, law depends on respect for language and would be served better by statutory amendment (if Congress sees asymmetry) than by racking statutory language to cover a policy it fails to reach.