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U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Gun Ban

March 18, 2008

Today the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments in District of Columbia vs. Heller, in which the plaintiffs have challenged Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Second Amendment states that “[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.”

The ban, which was passed in 1976, outlawed the private ownership of handguns in Washington, D.C. in an effort to reduce violence.  Murders in the nation’s capital, however, have continued and soared to a point in the 1990s when Washington, D.C. became known as the murder capital of the United States.

In District of Columbia vs. Heller, Washington, D.C.’s position is that the ban is necessary to keep violent crime and murder rates down.  Washington, D.C. also argues that the Second Amendment protects rights of people associated with militias, not individuals.

This is the first time since 1939 that the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment.  In 1939, however, the Court did not address the issue of individual versus collective right to bear arms.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its landmark decision in June 2008.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    March 18, 2008 3:22 pm

    I don’t think that the Court’s decision is going to make anyone happy. I think that there is a strong possibility that the Court will toss DC’s gun ban and uphold that the 2nd amendment is an individual right, but that it is subject to “reasonable regulation”. And, as the Court as it likes to do, will not give any guidance on what “reasonable regulation” means. That basically leaves the status quo in place (except if you live in DC).

  2. joe permalink
    March 18, 2008 4:26 pm

    I have a feeling this is one step to take away our guns.

  3. Ron permalink
    March 18, 2008 6:07 pm

    Here is what I don’t understand. If it is OK for the police to use a vast array of firearms for “self-defense” (that is, when they aren’t shooting blindly into closed doors), why isn’t it OK for you me to use those same firearms for self-defense?

  4. sethandray permalink
    March 18, 2008 7:12 pm

    The tough part of this debate is that it’s possible we’ve been enjoying a “right” that was never meant to exist. That preempts the issue of why we can’t do something that another class of citizens can althought I am sure that’s a heated debate. More on the 2nd Amendment at this blog: http://sethandray.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/the-2nd-amendment-of-the-us-constitution-the-debate/

  5. sean mcQ permalink
    March 19, 2008 10:29 pm

    Though I am not an avid gun supporter in any sense of the term (not at all), I do believe that the 2nd amendment is undeniably clear. Upholding the ban on handguns in DC is not going to solve the problem. Most of the violence occurs from unregistered firearms, so the ban has not really contributed to any significant decline in crime anyway. I don’t claim to have the answer, but I believe that addressing the social issues and lack of opportunities would be a fine place to start, as opposed to debating on whether or not the ban is unconstituitional.

  6. W. Niklowicz permalink
    April 8, 2008 6:17 pm

    just to clairify for those unfamilar with what the militia was in 1776 it was the people not a regular fighting force like we have today. The forefathers didn’t want a standing army thus the use of the term malitia.They fully expected the “people” to defend the country in time of need just as they did during the war for indenpendence. Thus the right of the people to own firearms was given as an individule right just like freedom of speech for without one you can’t have the other.

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