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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.
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Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Friday, January 19, 2018

Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Substitute House Bill 1122 out of committee on a 7-6 vote.  This bill, which would require gun owners to lock up their firearms or potentially face criminal charges, will ...

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Earlier today, the Washington state Senate Law & Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 5992 out of committee with a 4-3 vote. As drafted, this legislation has overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made to ...

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

Gun control groups are fond of describing preemption as a doctrine whereby a state has stripped local governments of their power to regulate guns.

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

The sorry state of gun politics in Australia was put into stark relief recently, after Liberal National Party (LNP) Queensland Legislative Assembly MP Anthony Perrett took a principled stand in favor of his constituents’ gun rights.

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their front-group “Arizonans for Wildlife” are currently gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would ban the hunting and trapping of mountain lions and bobcats in ...

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

On Friday, January 12, several amicus briefs were filed in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit challenging California’s restrictions against magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The lawsuit, titled Duncan v. Becerra, challenges California’s ...

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

On Thursday, January 25th at 1:30PM, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear several sweeping gun control bills.  NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly encouraged to attend the committee hearing to voice your opposition ...

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Today, Senator Karl Rhoads (D-13) introduced legislation that would ban modifications commonly made to firearms by law-abiding citizens.  SB 2046 is currently pending a committee referral.  Please contact your Senator today and urge them to OPPOSE this ...

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

On Thursday, January 18th, Senate Bill 20 passed the Indiana state Senate by a vote of 47-2 and will now move to the House.  

New Jersey:  2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Jersey: 2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

A new Governor took the reins from Gov. Chris Christie this week, and a new Legislature has been sworn into office. 

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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.