Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

D.C. Gun Ban Ruled Unconstitutional, Violates Individual Right To Own A Gun

Friday, March 9, 2007

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment is an individual right and concluded that the District of Columbia’s ban on guns in the home is unconstitutional. (Read NRA's amicus curiae briefin Parker v. District of Columbia) According to the majority opinion, "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people'...leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." Also, earlier this week, Second Amendment supporters on Capitol Hill introduced H.R. 1399 - the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act."

In ruling on the D.C. gun ban case, the majority opinion of the Circuit Court held as follows:

"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Anti-federalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia."

Read the majority opinion here

In its ruling, the Court also rejected the argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia, which has had a gun ban on the books for decades, because it is not a State. The majority opinion concludes that the D.C. prohibition on gun ownership in the home, "amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional."

The ruling was not unanimous, and the dissenting judge makes it clear in her dissent that opponents of the Second Amendment are still pervasive throughout our federal court system.

Today's ruling is the second time a federal circuit court has upheld the individual nature of the Second Amendment in recent years. In 2001, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously found in the case of U.S. v. Emerson that, "All of the evidence indicates that the Second Amendment, like other parts of the Bill of Rights, applies to and protects individual Americans....We find that the history of the Second Amendment reinforces the plain meaning of its text, namely that it protects individual Americans in their right to keep and bear arms..."

While the court decision was certainly great news, earlier this week, Second Amendment supporters on Capitol Hill introduced H.R. 1399 - the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act." This legislation, by Representatives Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Mark Souder (R-Ind.), seeks to restore the constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of the District of Columbia.

In lauding the D.C. court decision, and announcing her plans to introduce the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1399, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) noted, "I agree with the court that the Constitution guarantees law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms and defend themselves. That is why next week I will reintroduce my legislation to repeal the existing ban. Protection of constitutional rights does not cease when you cross into the borders of the District of Columbia. Not only is Washington, D.C.’s gun ban unconstitutional, but it also has been a public policy failure as seen in the rise in crime since its enactment. The time has finally come to change course."

The need for this corrective legislation is obvious. Since 1977, the District has banned the possession of all handguns not acquired and registered before that year. D.C. law also prohibits keeping an assembled rifle or shotgun in the home, effectively outlawing the use of firearms for lawful self-defense. And despite these Draconian gun control laws, Washington, D.C., consistently has one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

This legislation had a record high number of cosponsors in the 109th Congress (235 cosponsors for the House version, and 41 cosponsors for the Senate version). The House has voted on this issue four different times over the past eight years but the Senate has yet to consider it.

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and ask him or her to cosponsor and support the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act."

TRENDING NOW
Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

Most Americans consider Stephen Willeford a hero for bravely ending the rampage of a crazed murderer at a Texas church … but not former Vice President Joe Biden. During a national television appearance on Monday, ...

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

It didn’t take long after the events in Las Vegas, Nevada for gun control advocates to resort to their usual tactic of blaming hardware for the acts of an evil man. Numerous anti-gun bills were ...

When Gun Control Fails

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Gun Control Fails

Gun control is pushed as a strategy to keep Americans safe in their homes, schools and workplaces. It is presented as the key component in safer streets, neighborhoods and families. But what happens when gun ...

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

Anti-gun advocates like Gun Control Network Chair Gillian Marshall-Andrews tout the United Kingdom’s longstanding firearms restrictions, which include a near total ban on handguns, as the “gold standard” of gun control. In recent years, UK ...

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

Less than three hours after the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was looking to score political points. As is his custom, Murphy fired off a tweet admonishing his ...

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

News  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has recently been distinguished by Governing magazine as one of its “Public Officials of the Year.” According to the magazine, Gov. McAuliffe claims his “proudest single achievement” in office has been restoring ...

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

Courts are telling gun owners that they must choose between their Second Amendment-protected rights and their other constitutional rights. 

Free Beacon  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gabby Giffords’s Gun Control Group Releases Report Warning of Muzzleloaders, Other Firearms

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords's gun control group released a report on Wednesday warning of the dangers of muzzle loading rifles, a number of other firearms, and some firearms accessories and calling for new gun control ...

Less Complaining And More Encouraging

News  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Less Complaining And More Encouraging

It seems a little dramatic to blame these fine folks for the entire five hours. It can be assumed that there was no camera covering the specific area where the killings occurred and some period ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.