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homefires
May 19, 2009, 12:38 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/quickquestion/2007/november/popup5895.htm


Link Corrected! Full Sitation Found.

Supreme Court issues ruling on gun-control law
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The Supreme Court just struck down one of the nation's strictest gun-control laws, according to reports from Capitol Hill.

In a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, SCOTUSblog says the majority ruled that individuals have the right to own firearms, meaning that it was unconstitutional for local officials to prohibit the vast majority of Washington, D.C., residents from owning handguns.

Stay tuned to On Deadline for more details from the decision.

The folks at SCOTUSblog are covering the proceedings on their nifty little live-blog.

Update at 10:16 a.m. ET: USA TODAY's Joan Biskupic notes that it's been nearly 70 years since the Supreme Court last looked at the Second Amendment, which says, “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.”

Most lower court judges have ruled in recent decades that the Second Amendment protects a right to arms associated with service in state militia, such as a National Guard unit. That was also the general consensus of legal scholars.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set the stage for today’s case when it challenged the legal trend and ruled that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for such activities as hunting and self-defense.”

The high court just affirmed that ruling.

Today’s decision is likely to spawn controversy in the nation's urban areas, where local officials have tried to implement stricter gun control. Forty-two states already have constitutional provisions protecting an individual right to guns. One city even requires gun ownership.

Here's audio from oral arguments in D.C. v. Heller and a "quick question" that we first posted last November. Earlier today, we asked readers how many guns they own.

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET: Bloomberg News reports that the 5-4 decision may make gun-control laws in "Chicago, New York City and other cities more vulnerable to legal challenges."

Update at 10:23 a.m. ET: Read the decision here.

Update at 10:25 a.m. ET: Here's an excerpt from the syllabus, or summary, at the beginning of the 157-page ruling:

1. 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.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.

...

2. 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: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. 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.

3. 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. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. 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.

Update at 10:35 a.m. ET: Here's an excerpt from the dissent authored by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

The majority’s conclusion is wrong for two independent reasons. The first reason is that set forth by JUSTICE STEVENS—namely, that the Second Amendment protects militia-related, not self-defense-related, interests. These two interests are sometimes intertwined. To assure 18th century citizens that they could keep arms for militia purposes would necessarily have allowed them to keep arms that they could have used for self-defense as well. But self-defense alone, detached from any militia-related objective, is not the Amendment’s concern.
The second independent reason is that the protection the Amendment provides is not absolute. The Amendment permits government to regulate the interests that it serves. Thus, irrespective of what those interests are— whether they do or do not include an independent interest in self-defense—the majority’s view cannot be correct unless it can show that the District’s regulation is unreasonable or inappropriate in Second Amendment terms. This the majority cannot do.

(Top photo by Alex Wong, Getty Images; Bottom File photo taken Oct. 25, 2007, by Brian Albert Broom, The Clarion-Ledger.)

Mike Irwin
May 19, 2009, 12:42 PM
Your link is dead.

madmo44mag
May 19, 2009, 12:43 PM
Links no good!~!!

homefires
May 19, 2009, 02:22 PM
Link Corrected.

johnwilliamson062
May 19, 2009, 03:59 PM
this is a 2007 poll. I still voted. I think all the votes are from TFL who vote every month when someone new posts this exact same link.

Mike Irwin
May 19, 2009, 04:03 PM
Uh, Homefires?

The poll is from 2007, the Heller decision from the Supreme Court happened months ago.

Both of these were discussed in great detail here at TFL.

Closed as out of date and duplicate.