Having shaped the theory itself, Scalia then employed it in one of the most important cases of our lifetime: the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which restored a previously lost clause of the Constitution: the Second Amendment. Since the 1960s, gun control advocates — who were rarely originalists themselves — had been contending that the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment solely protected what they called a “collective right” of states to have a militia. And most lower federal courts of appeals then adopted this view when considering newly-enacted gun control measures. Then, starting in the 1980s, originalist scholars began pushing back with evidence that, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, the amendment protected the fundamental right of individuals to own, possess, carry and use firearms, subject to the reasonable regulation thereof.
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