Friday, February 1, 2013

District of Columbia v. Heller case brief

District of Columbia v. Heller case summary
554 U.S. 570

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Petitioner, the District of Columbia sought certiorari review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
The DC circuit held that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to possess firearms and also held that the total ban on handguns under D.C. Statutes and Codes as well as the requirement under D.C. Code §7-2507.02 that firearms be kept nonfunctional, violated the right to possess firearms.

-Respondent, a special policeman, filed the instant action after the District refused his application to register a handgun.
-The Court held that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home and its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purposes of immediate self-defense had violated the Second Amendment.
-The Court held that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
-The Court also determined that the Second Amendment's prefatory clause announced a purpose but did not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.
-The operative clause's text and history both demonstrated that there was an individual right to keep and bear arms.
-The Court's reading of the operative clause was consistent with the announced purpose of the prefatory clause.
-None of the Court's precedents foreclosed the court's conclusions.
-The Court held that the Second Amendment right was not unlimited, and it noted that its opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on certain long-standing prohibitions related to firearms.

CONCLUSION: The Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. In assuming that the respondent was not disqualified from exercising his Second Amendment rights, the Court held that the District must permit respondent to register his handgun and also must issue him a license to carry it in his home.

This was a 5-4 Decision with 2 Dissents.

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