District of Columbia vs. Heller decision released...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Andrew Henry, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Andrew Henry macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2008
    The SCOTUS just upheld the 2nd Amendment! :D:D:D:D:D:D

    Here's the opinion written by Justice Scalia:

    No. 07–290. Argued March 18, 2008—Decided June 26, 2008
    District of Columbia law bans handgun possession by making it a crime
    to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibiting the registration of
    handguns; provides separately that no person may carry an unli-
    censed handgun, but authorizes the police chief to issue 1-year li-
    censes; and requires residents to keep lawfully owned firearms
    unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device.
    Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a
    handgun he wished to keep at home, but the District refused. He
    filed this suit seeking, on Second Amendment grounds, to enjoin the
    city from enforcing the bar on handgun registration, the licensing re-
    quirement insofar as it prohibits carrying an unlicensed firearm in
    the home, and the trigger-lock requirement insofar as it prohibits the
    use of functional firearms in the home. The District Court dismissed
    the suit, but the D. C. Circuit reversed, holding that the Second
    Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms and
    that the city’s total ban on handguns, as well as its requirement that
    firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for
    self-defense, violated that right.
    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.
    Pp. 2–53.
    (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. Pp. 2–22.
    (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 Antifederal-
    ists 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.
    Pp. 22–28.
    (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-
    bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately
    followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
    (d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious
    interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals
    that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.
    Pp. 30–32.
    (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts
    and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the
    late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
    (f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpre-
    tation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor
    Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual-
    rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not
    limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather
    limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by
    the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
    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, con-
    cealed 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 fire-
    arms 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.
    Pp. 54–56.
    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 scru-
    tiny 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 arbi-
    trarily 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. Pp. 56–64.
    478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.
    SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
    C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a
    dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ.,
    joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS,
    SOUTER, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined.

    Here's a link to the whole opinion:

  2. adroit macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Victoria, BC
  3. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    You got that right. The fact that it was only a 5-4 decision is shocking and disturbing. Should have been 9-0...
  4. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    I'm glad they repeatedly said self defense is not illegal. An important point I think.
  5. Andrew Henry thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2008
    Fortunately coming from someone who isn't a U.S. citizen, your opinion doesn't matter.
  6. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    You got that right.
  7. themadchemist macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2003
    Chi Town
    Good decision, particularly since we're talking about *hand guns*.
  8. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    It's unfortunate that you feel this way, but not surprising. The gun laws in the United States (and the loop holes contained within) have directly contributed to the illegal importation of firearms into Canada which are linked to all sorts of violent crime here.

    A lax, flippant attitude towards firearms and the potential damage they cause is one of the most dangerous aspects of the "American" way of life.
  9. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    Good decision! Now to eliminate the rest of the gun bans and other unnecessary controls; namely the gun bans in college campuses, which lead to more deaths and no possibility of me defending myself on campus.
  10. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    But you ignore the obvious. Handguns are being imported illegally into Canada. Law-abiding citizens are not using them. If guns were available to all, then you couldn't care less about the criminals, because you would be able to defend yourself.
  11. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    Ah but there's the rub, not every purchaser of a firearm is a law-abiding citizen, nor can a law-abiding gun owner can protect themselves 100% from criminals. BTW I feel I can defend myself; but guns(well weapons in general) only 'up the ante', then instead of fighting for my property, I'd be fighting for my life.
  12. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2003
    Terlingua, Texas
    Raid, the only way you could get rid of guns is to outlaw lathes and milling machines. And steel, I guess. Crooks illegally buying ready-made guns is merely a matter of convenience. And even Stalin's police-state KGB style of gun control couldn't keep crooks from having full-auto AK-47s.

    "Heller" merely makes the world safer for honest people. The laws it's striking down have only benefitted the crooks.
  13. Andrew Henry thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2008
    Don't inject any common sense into this conversation! The only thing that matters is his feelings on the situation.

    Liberals fail to realize that MORE gun laws are NOT going to reduce the number of illegally imported firearms into any country. It is not law abiding citizens who are bringing in illegal weapons, so the only people that more gun laws hurt, are those who are trying to do the right thing and stay within the law.

    It's ignorant to believe that a criminal who has already illegally imported firearms into a country is going to all of a sudden stop because of a "new" law.
  14. iCheese macrumors regular

    May 31, 2006

    I have a question for all of the collective right theorists...

    how does crow taste? ;)
  15. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    +1 on the Exxon ruling
    +1 on the Guantanamo ruling
    +1 on the Heller ruling
    -1 on the Louisiana ruling. Guess I can't have 'em all. What a great day, though.
  16. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    It definitely should have been 9-0, it is disturbing that so many of them thought we shouldn't have a right to defend ourselves, but fortunately the majority were sane.
  17. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    The child rape decision was the only one that disappointed me. But hey, it's been pretty good so far.
  18. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I agree.
  19. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Do you really have to blame "liberals" for everything? That's just ********. I guess I'd be considered liberal but I fully support the 2nd amendment.
  20. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2002
    I have to agree with the Court on this one. The Second Amendment can't allow the government to ban all guns everywhere. A question, were long guns also banned in DC?

    And an opinion - there shouldn't be concealed carry laws, rather, there should be open carry laws. As in, if you're carrying a gun, it has to be on a holster in plain sight. If we're looking to deter crime, having the guns out in view would do more to prevent a crime from occurring in the first place.

    Kinda like how unmarked police cars don't deter speeding, but marked ones do.
  21. themadchemist macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2003
    Chi Town
    I'm all for gun control, but I just think the laws in DC, from how they were described above, seem a bit excessive. There are people who would go too far in both directions. Some people want everyone to have the right to a sawed off shotgun and an UZI, and others want there to be absolutely no guns anywhere. The former would be ridiculously dangerous and lead to plenty of deaths via school shootings, accidents, illegal obtainment of weapons through loopholes, etc. The latter, banning all guns in non-uniformed hands, is probably a violation of second amendment rights. Striking down this law seems like a defense against the latter, without an encroachment on the former.
  22. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    I don't believe I suggested this... but even then I think there's better ways of getting rid of all the guns. :rolleyes:

    Well I don't know who's failing to realize what, my point is that American laws do have an impact here, and as such our opinion is valid. Oh and BTW a report here states that legal sales of firearms in gun shows and flea markets in the U.S. are a major contributor to the illegal importation of firearms into Canada.

    Over all my point is that firearms are tools designed for the purpose of killing; as such owners should realize the tremendous responsibility they have in keeping the general public from harm from their use/misuse.
  23. Andrew Henry thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2008
    Kind of like "liberals" blaming Bush for everything from global warming to the economic collapse. (not that I feel like arguing those points here, just sayin')

    Sorry if I offended you, but you must agree that you're the minority, considering yourself a "liberal" that supports the 2A.

    MANY states do have open carry laws, such as Michigan, where I live, but people tend to get scared and call the police if someone is open carrying, and I don't feel like dealing with the hassle, so I have my Concealed Weapons Permit, out of sight, out of mind for those who are scared to death of firearms.

    That we agree on, owning firearms is a big responsibility, and it needs to be taken seriously.
  24. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    Actually, guns level the playing field for women and the elderly.
  25. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    Nuclear weapons level the playing field diplomatically for smaller countries.

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