District of Columbia v. Heller: The Second Amendment Is Back, Baby, by Clark Neily


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

U.S. Const., Amend. II

For more than 200 years, the Second Amendment was a sort

of constitutional Loch Ness Monster: Despite occasional reported sightings, many people?and certainly most judges?were inclined to believe it did not really exist. But that changed dramatically on June 26, 2008, when the Supreme Court handed down District of Columbia v. Heller,1 in which it unambiguously held, for the first time in history, that the Second Amendment protects an individual right

to keep and bear arms.

As with any newly discovered constitutional right, the precise scope and content of the Second Amendment remain unclear and will have to be fleshed out in subsequent litigation. Within hours of the Court?s announcement of the Heller decision (which struck down Washington, D.C.?s handgun ban), my co-counsel Alan Gura filed suit against Chicago?s handgun ban.2 And along with two other D.C. residents, Heller has challenged the District?s new licensing rules that forbid, among other things, the registration of any semiautomatic pistol. Other lawsuits in other jurisdictions are sure to follow.

Please read full article for more information. (This article is from the Cato Supreme Court Review 2007-2008).

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