when pigs fly … expect the unbelievable

Archive for May 2016

District of Columbia v. Heller is a landmark case from 2008.  The question posed to the US Supreme Court was:  Does the 2nd Amendment provide an individual who is not affiliated with a militia the right to keep a gun in his home for purposes of self-defense?

Why DC?  The District of Columbia hosts the nation’s most extreme gun ban.  Among other regulations, the DC language outlawed all handguns from residences and required that rifles and shotguns could only be kept in homes if they were unloaded, disassembled, and bound by a trigger lock.  Try to manage that host of difficulties if you are being assaulted in your residence.

The plaintiff, Dick Heller, was a security guard with a spotless background.  He wanted to register a handgun to keep in his home for self-defense.  He was turned down based solely on the DC gun ban regulations.

The Court’s decision was 5-4. The winning side contained the ideological conservatives on the Court (Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts and Alito).  Ruling that the right to bear arms is an individual right not associated in any way with militias, Scalia wrote:  “In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.”  The question now devolves into how much regulation on that right can government legitimately apply?  Even Justice Scalia admitted that some form of gun control legislation could be permissible; the 2nd Amendment does not provide a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

We will consider the fallout from Heller next.

 


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