District of Columbia v Heller case brief + full opin

Here you will see the District of Columbia v Heller case brief.

District of Columbia v Heller is a landmark case in U.S constitutional law.

District of Columbia v. Heller case allows civilians to own firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense by providing that Handgun prohibition in the District of Columbia, as well as the requirement that lawfully held rifles and shotguns be stored “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock,” violated the  Second Amendment to the United States Constitution thus unconstitutional.

Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

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.

District of Columbia v. Heller case was the first case to determine whether the Second Amendment supports an individual’s right to own guns and firearms for self-defense or if the right was intended for state militias.

Here I will share with you the District of Columbia v. Heller case brief to help you understand everything you need to know about the District of Columbia v. Heller case in a simple and accurate way.

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District of Columbia v Heller case brief

District of Columbia v. Heller – 554 U.S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008)

Decided on Decided June 26, 2008

by Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States

Parties

District of Columbia et al., Petitioner and Dick Anthony Heller, Respondent.

Procedure

Respondent filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia’s Federal District Court for an injunction.

The District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit.

Respondent appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the decision of the District Court for the District of Columbia.

The petitioners petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.

Facts

Through the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975,(the Act) the District of Columbia prohibited Handgun possession, and no one may possess a firearm without a license.

Dick Heller Respondent, a special police officer authorized to carry a weapon on duty, requested registration for a handgun he wished to keep at home.

His registration request was denied by the Petitioner under the Act.

Heller filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia’s Federal District Court, seeking an injunction prohibiting the District from implementing the ban on handgun registration, as well as the license requirement, insofar as it violates the Second Amendment.

The District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit. Heller appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which reversed the district court decision and declared the Handgun prohibition unconstitutional.

Thus the Petitioners petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.

Issue

Do the provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 violates the Second Amendment?

Rule

In reaching its decision the court applied Second Amendment to the United States Constitution which provides 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.

Reasoning

When applying the law to the facts, the court reasoned that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual’s right to own a firearm unrelated to militia duty and to use it for traditionally permitted uses like self-defense in the home.

Also, the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment stated a purpose but did not restrict or extend the operative clause. The content and history of the operative clause revealed that it implied an individual right to keep and bear arms, and the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause was consistent with the prefatory clause’s stated purpose.

Finally, the judge concluded that the Second Amendment right was not unrestricted, and it stated that its decision should not be interpreted as casting doubt on certain long-standing weapons regulations.

Holding

Yes, the provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 violate the Second Amendment, thus unconstitutional.

Judgment

The United States Court of Appeals decision for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.

Dissenting opinion

Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Breyer together joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer dissented.

In his dissent opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens reasoned that the Second Amendment did not intend to cover the individual rights to possess firearms, if that is the case it could provide that expressly. The second amendment touches on state militia service only.

Further Justice Stevens noted that the Court has not considered other gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional.

They concluded that it is unreasonable to believe that the Second Amendment limits the tools available to elected officials to regulate civilian uses of weapons.

On another hand, Justice Breyer reasoned that starting from the premise of an individual-rights view, the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

Read the full opinion here

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion