Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

D.C. Files Brief in <I>Heller</I> Case

Friday, January 11, 2008

On January 4, the District of Columbia filed its brief in District of Columbia v. Heller, now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The District is appealing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's ruling that found D.C.'s bans on handguns, on having any gun assembled for use within the home, and on carrying a firearm within the home without a permit, violate the Second Amendment. 

In March 2007, the Court of Appeals ruled that the amendment protects a "pre-existing right to keep and bear arms . . . premised on the commonplace assumption that individuals would use them for these private purposes [including self-defense], in addition to whatever militia service they would be obligated to perform for the state." And it found that handguns are the kinds of "arms" the ownership of which the amendment protects.  

The District wrongly contended that the amendment "protects the possession and use of guns only in service of an organized militia," and that James Madison and others responsible for the amendment considered that "keep," "bear" and "arms" referred to the maintenance and use of firearms for militia purposes alone. 

The District claimed that "keep" means either for an individual to possess guns only for militia purposes, or for a state to "keep up" a militia, a theory the Court of Appeals said "mocks usage, syntax, and common sense." The Court of Appeals added, "Such outlandish views are likely advanced because the plain meaning of 'keep' strikes a mortal blow to the collective right theory." 

The District furthered argued that it is not subject to the Second Amendment because the Supreme Court ruled in Presser v. Illinois (1886) that the amendment "is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government" and, according to the District, does not limit the states. The District, despite its longstanding wish to the contrary, is not a state, and is therefore obviously subject to the amendment. The District also ignores the Supreme Court's comment in Presser that because "all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States," the states "cannot ... prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security ...."  (The application of the amendment to actual states, rather than would-be states, is not an issue in this case.)   

The District noted that the Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Miller (1939), suggested that the amendment protects arms that are "part of the ordinary military equipment," but apparently failed to comprehend that modern handguns are commonly issued to military personnel and are also useful for another of the potential duties of the militia, namely, law enforcement.  

As if looking for even more ways to undercut its case, the District also claimed that in the mid-1970s it "sensibly concluded" that gun bans would make the city safer. Of course, as is well known, the city's murder rate tripled within 15 years after D.C. imposed the ban. 

Briefs by those challenging D.C.'s laws, and "friends of the court" supporting them, will be submitted over the next several weeks, with oral arguments expected in March.  Keep watching this alert for the latest news on this historic case.
TRENDING NOW
Report: House of Representatives to Vote on Two Gun Control Bills!

News  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Report: House of Representatives to Vote on Two Gun Control Bills!

According to reports from Capitol Hill, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on two gun control bills as early as next week. The first bill, so-called “universal” background check legislation, would criminalize ...

H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

All gun control bills share the same basic goal: a world in which fewer people own firearms. Some bills simply ban certain types of firearms or ammunition outright. Others place obstacles in the path of ...

Friday, February 5, 2021

Florida Alert! H.R. 127 - Federal Gun Control Proposal

Much is being said about H.R. 127 By Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) 117th Congress and we have had many folks contacting us seeking information. 

Tennessee: Pro-Gun Constitutional Carry Legislation Advances in Both Chambers – Faces Backlash from Fringe Fundraising Groups

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Tennessee: Pro-Gun Constitutional Carry Legislation Advances in Both Chambers – Faces Backlash from Fringe Fundraising Groups

Today, House Bill 786 passed out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, and now heads to the full committee.  Last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved NRA-backed Constitutional Carry legislation, Senate Bill 765, sending the measure to the ...

Connecticut: Firearm Seizure Bill Set for Committee Hearing

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Connecticut: Firearm Seizure Bill Set for Committee Hearing

Tomorrow, March 5, at 10:00 AM, the Connecticut Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill 6355, which will take away the constitutional rights of individuals, without adequate due process.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Canada’s Liberal Government: More Gun Control!

News  

Monday, February 22, 2021

Canada’s Liberal Government: More Gun Control!

Apparently acting on the impulse that the solution to one irrational gun control proposal is more of the same, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced a bill with new restrictions and prohibitions on February ...

Biden Begins Gun Control Push

News  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Biden Begins Gun Control Push

On Sunday, President Biden used the three-year anniversary of the criminal attack in Parkland, Florida to call “on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons ...

March for Our Lives Issues Biden His Marching Orders

News  

Monday, March 1, 2021

March for Our Lives Issues Biden His Marching Orders

It’s widely understood that the current occupants of the White House, the Biden-Harris Administration, have positioned themselves as the most anti-gun team this country has ever seen on Pennsylvania Avenue. Leading up to the 2020 ...

Colorado: Committee Passes Anti-Gun Measure That Further Victimizes Gun Owners

Friday, March 5, 2021

Colorado: Committee Passes Anti-Gun Measure That Further Victimizes Gun Owners

Last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed anti-gun Senate Bill 78.  

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.