Civics project

Civics project

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  • Case File
  • District of Columbia V. Heller
  • Facts of the Case
  • After the District of Columbia passed legislation barring the registration of handguns, requiring licenses for all pistols, and mandating that all legal firearms must be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked, I filed a lawsuit claiming the laws violated my Second Amendment right to bear arms. The federal trial court in Washington D.C. refused to grant me relief, holding that the Second Amendment applies only to militias, such as the National Guard, and not to private gun ownership.
  • Question Before the Court
  • Do the provisions of the District of Columbia Code that restrict the licensing of handguns and require licensed firearms kept in the home to be kept nonfunctional violate the Second Amendment?
  • District of Columbia (Plaintiff)
  • Justice, the Second Amendment only applies to militias and members of the National Guard, not citizens. Therefore, our provisions are constitutional.
  • Heller (Defense)
  • The Second Amendment protects the right to keep firearms in the home for the purpose of self-defense, and the District of Columbia’s requirement that firearms kept in the home be nonfunctional violated my right. 
  • Court Decision
  • The Second Amendment protects 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.
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