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Heller: The Supreme Decision

Friday, June 27, 2008

Supreme Court Declares That the Second Amendment Guarantees an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms -- June 26, 2008

Fairfax, VA – Leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) praised the Supreme Court’s historic ruling overturning Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns and on self-defense in the home, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

“This is a great moment in American history. It vindicates individual Americans all over this country who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting,” declared NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it. The Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law.”

Last year, the District of Columbia appealed a Court of Appeals ruling affirming that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the District’s bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home and possession of functional firearms for self-defense violate that fundamental right.

“Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right,” said NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. “All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right.”

Read the opinion  (1 MB)

Highlights From The Heller Decision


On March 18, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller

 Listen to the audio recording of the oral arguments (RealPlayer required)

 View the transcript

The Court announced its decision to take the case in which plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the District's gun ban last Fall. The District of Columbia appealed a lower court’s ruling last year affirming that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the District’s bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home, and possession of loaded or operable firearms for self-defense violate that right.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that “[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.” The D.C. Circuit also rejected the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because D.C. is not a state.

The case marks the first time a Second Amendment challenge to a firearm law has reached the Supreme Court since 1939.

Briefs filed on behalf of Heller and Washington D.C.

Click the links below to read recently filed amicus briefs in support of Dick Anthony Heller in the upcoming case District of Columbia v. Heller.

Click the links below to read recently filed amicus briefs in support of Washington D.C.

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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.