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A Year after <i>Heller</i>, Second Amendment Cases Move Fast

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Year after Heller, Second Amendment Cases Move Fast

As this issue goes to press, we’ve just celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which firmly established that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms. Now, a host of follow-up cases are moving fast, nearly guaranteeing prompt review of key issues related to that right. Here are some of the highlights.

In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit decided the case of NRA v. City of Chicago (consolidated for appeal with a companion case) and rejected challenges to handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill. The cases sought to apply the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. The Chicago cases and a New York case in the 2nd Circuit (Maloney v. Cuomo, which involves New York state’s ban on possession of “nunchaku,” an Asian martial arts weapon) wrongly followed post-Civil War precedent that refused to apply any provisions of the Bill of Rights directly to the states. 

By doing that, the 7th and 2nd Circuits failed to conduct the type of 14th Amendment analysis that the Heller opinion said is “required” by later cases. This creates a split between those circuits’ decisions and the 9th Circuit ruling in Nordyke v. King (see “ILA Report,” July 2009). The NRA and other Chicago plaintiffs, as well as the plaintiff in the Maloney case, have all filed appeals to the Supreme Court, and it’s very likely the Supreme Court will agree this fall to hear one or more of those cases.

Meanwhile, Washington D.C.’s city government keeps moving the goalposts on those who want the city to comply with the Heller decision. (See “Lawyers Take Aim,” March 2009.)  In an NRA-supported case, Dick Heller and other plaintiffs are challenging the District’s burdensome gun registration requirements and its California-style ban on common semi-automatic firearms. 

Both the NRA case and a companion case also attacked the District’s use of the California handgun “roster”--a government-approved list that effectively bans the sale of non-listed handguns in California. Under the District’s version of this scheme, guns that can’t be sold in California also can’t be possessed in D.C. This means D.C. residents can’t possess certain guns just because manufacturers discontinued them before the California roster existed, or because a manufacturer got a black-finished pistol listed on the roster, but not an identical model with a two-tone finish.

Now, the District has issued “emergency” regulations that add guns on the Maryland and Massachusetts handgun rosters to its “approved” list, along with mechanically identical models and all pre-1985 handguns. This move is obviously intended to shut out the roster lawsuits. Even if the ploy is successful, the challenges to other parts of D.C.’s gun laws may survive; watch for more coverage of this and other Second Amendment cases in these pages, and at



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...

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 ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


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.