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Overwhelming Support For Incorporation of the Second Amendment

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As we reported last week, on November 16, the NRA filed its brief with the U.S. Supreme Court as Respondent in Support of Petitioner in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The NRA brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The McDonald case is one of several that were filed immediately after last year's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court upheld the Second Amendment as an individual right and invalidated Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun possession, as well as the capital city's ban on keeping loaded, operable firearms for self-defense in the home. 

In September, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the McDonald case, on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. That court incorrectly claimed that prior Supreme Court precedent prevented it from holding in favor of incorporation of the Second Amendment. As we argued at the time, the Seventh Circuit should have followed the lead of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Nordyke v. King, which found that Supreme Court precedent does not prevent the Second Amendment from applying to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. 

As a party in McDonald, the NRA is actively involved in this case and we believe our brief makes a clear and strong case in favor of incorporation of the Second Amendment (to see a copy of NRA's brief, please click here). 

Support for incorporation of the Second Amendment is very strong, and numerous additional briefs have recently been filed and signed by both federal and state officials. 

This week, an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate signed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief supporting the NRA's position that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The amicus brief bears the signatures of a record 251 Members of Congress and 58 Senators—the most signers of a congressional amicus brief in the history of the Supreme Court (in last year's historic Heller case, a then-record 55 Senators and 250 Representatives signed an amicus brief supporting the Second Amendment as an individual right).  (To see a copy of this brief, please click here.) 

In addition to the federal brief, a large bipartisan group of state legislators and other elected officials from all 50 states, along with more than three-fourths of state attorneys general also filed amicus curiae briefs in the McDonald case this week.  They, too, are supporting the NRA's position that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The state legislators' brief bears the signatures of 891 state legislators and other elected officialsincluding two governors and three lieutenant governors.  The state attorneys' general brief was prepared by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) and bears the signatures of attorneys general from 38 states.  Both of these briefs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.  (To see a copy of the state legislators' brief, please click here.  To see a copy of the state attorneys' general brief, please click here.) 

The NRA is gratified that so many members of Congress along with a large number of state legislators and state attorneys general have joined this historic effort in support of our Second Amendment freedoms.  Along with gun owners everywhere, we are grateful for their participation in ensuring that the Second Amendment applies across the nation, not just in federal enclaves. 

"It is our sincere hope that the Supreme Court will follow the Constitution's true meaning and hold that the Second Amendment applies to all law-abiding Americans, no matter what city or state they call home," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. 

Chicago has had a handgun ban and other restrictive gun laws in place for 27 years. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on McDonald v. the City of Chicago case on March 2, 2010.


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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.