Skip to comments.DC Circuit strikes down DC gun law
Posted on 03/09/2007 8:10:02 AM PST by crypticalEdited on 03/09/2007 10:38:14 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
BREAKING NEWS -- Divided three-judge D.C. Circuit panel holds that the District of Columbia's gun control laws violate individuals' Second Amendment rights: You can access today's lengthy D.C. Circuit ruling at this link.
According to the majority opinion, "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people,' when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." The majority opinion sums up its holding on this point as follows:
To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.
The majority opinion also rejects the argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a State. And the majority opinion concludes, "Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional."
Senior Circuit Judge Laurence H. Silberman wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith joined. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented.
Judge Henderson's dissenting opinion makes clear that she would conclude that the Second Amendment does not bestow an individual right based on what she considers to be binding U.S. Supreme Court precedent requiring that result. But her other main point is that the majority's assertion to the contrary constitutes nothing more than dicta because the Second Amendment's protections, whatever they entail, do not extend to the District of Columbia, because it is not a State.
This is a fascinating and groundbreaking ruling that would appear to be a likely candidate for U.S. Supreme Court review if not overturned first by the en banc D.C. Circuit.
Update: "InstaPundit" notes the ruling in this post linking to additional background on the Second Amendment. And at "The Volokh Conspiracy," Eugene Volokh has posts titled "Timetable on Supreme Court Review of the Second Amendment Case, and the Presidential Election" and "D.C. Circuit Accepts Individual Rights View of the Second Amendment," while Orin Kerr has a post titled "DC Circuit Strikes Down DC Gun Law Under the 2nd Amendment."
My coverage of the D.C. Circuit's oral argument appeared here on the afternoon of December 7, 2006. Posted at 10:08 AM by Howard Bashman
If this holds up, I see a crime-surge in Maryland's future.
I read it twice, I couldn't believe it!
A landmark decision, indeed!
This might be the biggest strike FOR real freedom I've seen from the courts in quite some time.
And repeal women's suffrage, much to the dissenting justice's chagrin...
explain that statement please.
Pinging joe for the Bang list.
"But her other main point is that the majority's assertion to the contrary constitutes nothing more than dicta because the Second Amendment's protections, whatever they entail, do not extend to the District of Columbia, because it is not a State."
This is a Federal judge? Another collectivist idiot.
This isn't a "states rights" issue it's an INDIVIDUAL rights issue. And last time I checked, DC is in the USA.
Ping for later.
As all the criminals flee a DC populace once again able to defend itself from their predation.
Giuliani is having a Depends moment.
Silbermann - Reagan
Henderson - Bush 41
Griffith - Bush 43
We need to get Keisler up there and continue court reform.
It's got more gravitas than the average thread.
"Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg are going to be greatly disappointed to hear this."
YOU RUDY HATERS ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO ATTACK HIM NO MATTER WHAT THREAD YOU'RE ON!!!! YOU'RE JUST A BUNCH OF RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS!!!!!!! POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION!!! POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION!!!
I think Rudy has a unique political opportunity to say he respects the ruling.
There are actually justices who believe this?
At some point, the SC will have to take one of these cases, and answer the very question posed in this case.
wow! DC gun owners can now "come out of the shadows".
I should start taking bets whether the full circuit will let this go.
But the wording alone - I'm truly amazed!