SCOTUScast 3-30-07 featuring Robert A. Levy
Parker v. District of Columbia
March 30, 2007Robert A. Levy
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In a case that appears bound for the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the District’s gun law, which purported to regulate the use of firearms but operated as an effective ban on the possession of a functioning firearm anywhere in the district, including in one’s home. The plaintiffs argued they had a constitutional right to lawfully keep functioning firearms in their home for self-defense. The district court dismissed the claim, ruling that the Second Amendment did not apply to individual citizens, but the D.C. Circuit disagreed. The opinion by Justice Laurence Silberman (in which Judge Thomas Griffith joined and Judge Karen LeCraft dissented) declared that activities protected by the Second Amendment “are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.” In so doing, the D.C. Circuit became the first federal court of appeals to overturn a gun regulation on Second Amendment grounds and created a circuit split that is ripe for Supreme Court review.