District of Columbia v. Heller

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  • District of Columbia v. Heller
  • District of Columbia v. Heller is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and that Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban and requirement that lawfully-owned rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock" violated this guarantee. It was also clearly stated that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated.
  • Facts of the Case
  • Question Before The Court
  • The question before the court was whether the D.C laws being challenged violated the Second Amendment.
  • Argument For The Petitioner
  • The argument for the Petitioner is that the D.C. statute prohibited possessing a handgun in the home without a license. In addition, the statute required lawful handguns at home to be inoperable using a trigger lock even when necessary for self-defense purposes.
  • Argument for the Respondent
  • Respondent Heller, a District of Columbia. special policeman, applied to register a handgun that 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 requirement in so far 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.
  • Decision
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