Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

D.C.’s Gun Bans Ruled Unconstitutional

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

U.S. Court Of Appeals Rules Second Amendment Protects An Individual Right

On March 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled, in Parker v. District of Columbia, that gun control laws imposed by the D.C. City Council, prohibiting possession of a handgun, and prohibiting keeping any gun assembled and loaded at home (the condition required for self-defense), are unconstitutional. The court agreed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Justice Department, the Framers of the Bill of Rights, and constitutional scholars past and present, that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right of individuals, not a so-called "right" of a state to maintain a select militia, or a privilege to have guns only when serving in a select militia. The court also ruled that individuals have a right to possess handguns.

The panel`s decision overturned the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that the Second Amendment protects only a right to be armed while on active-duty in a militia. The city appealed the panel`s decision to the full Appeals Court, which allowed the panel`s decision to stand. The city is considering whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. The anti-gun Brady Campaign, which has provided legal assistance to the city throughout, has concerns about an appeal. Its president, Paul Helmke, said, "The D.C. law [is] a tougher one to get behind and defend. Why is this the one we`re going to be taking up to the Supremes?"

Highlights from the Appeals Court`s Decision

"[T]he 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)."

"[T]he phrase ‘the right of the people,` when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual."

In the Second Amendment, "the most important word is the one the drafters chose to describe the holders of the right--‘the people.` That term is found in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. It has never been doubted that these provisions were designed to protect the interests of individuals against government intrusion, interference, or usurpation."

"The Amendment does not protect ‘the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,` but rather ‘the right of the people.`"

"The modern handgun--and for that matter the rifle and long-barreled shotgun . . . passes [the Supreme Court`s U.S. v. Miller] standards. . . . Once it is determined--as we have done--that handguns are ‘Arms` referred to in the Second Amendment, it is not open to the District to ban them."

Background

In 1975, D.C.`s City Council imposed a multi-faceted gun control law unlike any in America. The "Firearms Control Regulations Act" prohibited the possession of a handgun not registered with city police prior to Sept. 24, 1976, and prevented the legal use of a gun for protection in the home, by requiring that guns at home be "unloaded, disassembled, or bound by a trigger lock or similar device."

The laws run counter to the 14th Amendment`s Equal Protection clause and Congress` intent in the Gun Control Act, which states, "[I]t is not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity and that this title is not intended to discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes."

After the Parker ruling, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty falsely claimed D.C.`s gun laws "decrease gun violence." To the contrary, D.C.`s murder rate rose 200% within 15 years after the laws were imposed, while the rate for the rest of the U.S. remained comparatively stable. And the District has become known as "the murder capital of the United States," usually having the highest murder rate of any major U.S. city, and always far worse than the rest of the country. (FBI)

More Reasons to End D.C.`s Handgun and Home-Defense Bans

Police are "not generally liable to victims of violent criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection." (Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (1981))

Allowing citizens to defend themselves deters criminals. A study for the Justice Department found that 40% of felons have decided to not commit one or more crimes for fear their potential victims were armed. (James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, 1986, p. 155)

D.C.`s self-defense ban increases the likelihood that crime victims will be injured. Federal crime surveys show that "Robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns, 1997, p. 171)

TRENDING NOW
New “Watchlist” Sends Outspoken Academics into a Tailspin

News  

Friday, December 9, 2016

New “Watchlist” Sends Outspoken Academics into a Tailspin

A new “watchlist” is ruffling feathers in the academic community, with critics calling it “Orwellian,” “grotesque,” “an assault on academic freedom,” and even “the right’s new McCarythyism.”

Gun Control Group: Interest in Guns, Music Signals Intention to Murder

News  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gun Control Group: Interest in Guns, Music Signals Intention to Murder

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), an activist group out of Connecticut, has created a heart-tugging “public service announcement” that it hopes will capture the public’s imagination.  

Ohio: Important Self-Defense Bill Heads to Governor Kasich!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ohio: Important Self-Defense Bill Heads to Governor Kasich!

Early this morning, Sub. Senate Bill 199, now including original language from Sub. House Bill 48, overwhelmingly passed the House and final concurrence in the Senate, despite the efforts of misguided anti-gun groups.  The bill will ...

Ohio Concealed Carry Bill Passes Assembly with Impressive Majority

News  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ohio Concealed Carry Bill Passes Assembly with Impressive Majority

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauds the Ohio General Assembly for its overwhelming support of legislation that expands the rights of concealed carry permit holders in the Buckeye state.

Corporate Lawyers Join Activists to Restrict Gun Rights

News  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Corporate Lawyers Join Activists to Restrict Gun Rights

This week, the New York Times announced that some of the nation’s largest law firms are forming a coalition with gun control advocates to provide tens of millions of dollars of free legal services to battle the ...

The Year of the Gun: Carry Permit, Sales Figures Explode in 2016

News  

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Year of the Gun: Carry Permit, Sales Figures Explode in 2016

The number of persons in the United States with concealed carry permits has reached an all-time high of close to 15 million. John R. Lott, Jr. of the Crime Prevention Research Center explains:

Ohio: Contact your State Legislators Today in Support of Important Self-Defense Bill!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ohio: Contact your State Legislators Today in Support of Important Self-Defense Bill!

Today, Sub. Senate Bill 199 is expected to receive its final votes; however, anti-gun groups are actively trying to defeat this bill! It is important that you contact your state legislators TODAY and tell them that an ...

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Recently the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms sent out a notice to California firearms dealers with information regarding the recently passed “assault weapon” legislation, SB880 and AB 1135.

Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

Guinness World Records may refuse to acknowledge feats pertaining to the lawful exercise of right to keep and bear arms, but how about a world record for most shameless attempt to politicize tragedy? The competition would ...

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

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.