The Supreme Court has upheld the opinion of the DC Circuit Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruling that DC’s ban on handguns is unconstitutional. Specifically, it is the opinion of the court that there is an individual right accorded by the 2nd amendment, not to be infringed upon by any act of the legislature. In addition, it is the opinion of the court that the ban on storing shotguns and rifles in a disassembled or trigger-locked state is also unconstitutional.
There will be a response from the city shortly.
You can read the Opinion written by Justice Scalia. The Dissenting Opinions are after the Majority Opinion, beginning on page 68 and 114. The big quote from syllabus is this one, which affirms that citizens have a constitutionally endowed right to own a firearm:
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.
In addition, it is not a blanket right without exception:
The Courtâ€™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 fire-arms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Millerâ€™s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those â€œin common use at the timeâ€ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
So don’t go thinking you’ll be able to buy a tommy gun or a bazooka for use as part of some wacky and bizarre home defense plan. Do, however, pay close attention to the section on trigger locks and disassembly requirements, which were also ruled as unconstitutional:
The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The Districtâ€™s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of â€œarmsâ€ that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense…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.
There’s going to be a lot to think about in the next few days.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs