District of Columbia v. Dick Anthony Heller
The Heartland Institute filed an amicus brief with the United State Supreme Court, urging the Court to affirm a ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals holding the District's ordinance banning possession of handguns unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
The brief was written for Heartland by Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law and Richard K. Willard and Josh L. Kreamer of Steptoe & Johnson.
It traces the origins of the Second Amendment to Seventeenth Century English law through the ratification of the U.S Constitution and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, establishing the embedded right to bear arms suitable for self defense.
This brief focuses on the last element in the question Presented to this Court, whether the District of Columbia code provisions at issue “violate the second amendment rights of individuals ... who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.” We conclude these provisions do violate those Second Amendment protections because they unreasonably interfere with the rights of law-abiding individuals to possess, in their homes, arms commonly used for self-defense. This is the Second Amendment test we propound based on the strong historical and interpretive evidence that a basic right of self-defense underlies the Second Amendment’s guarantee that the “right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”