Second Amendment Issues Self-Defense Issues

D.C. vs Heller: Supreme Court Strikes Down Handgun Ban

Supreme CourtIn a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the District of Columbia’s draconian handgun ban is unconstitutional. Specifically, the Court held that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

The Court also states that “The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.”

However, the Court also stated “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose…” The Court further stated that “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

One area I am disappointed by is the D.C. licensing requirement. The Court did not consider the Constitutionality of a licensing requirement “Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.”

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

2 replies on “D.C. vs Heller: Supreme Court Strikes Down Handgun Ban”

I currently have an open case in criminal court(S.I.NY) for posessing a unregistered gun that was locked up in a safe in my home. there was a search warrant executed for drugs but no drugs were found or present.the police broke open my safe to find the gun unloaded.i kept the weapon there for protection because of a prior burgulary.

the D.A. of the county has offered me a one year sentence in jail for this,yes i have a prior arrest and conviction for the same thing, posession of a firearm that was (12) years ago. can i beat these charges is my question?

Hi Aldon,

I’m not an attorney, and I am not qualified to offer legal advice. I strongly suggest you contact an attorney in this matter. I believe you can contact the Second Amendment Foundation for a list of attorneys in your area that may be available to help.

Good luck!


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