Case Study: District Of Columbia V. Heller

Good Essays
In June 2008, the Supreme Court was asked in District of Columbia v. Heller to consider whether a District of Columbia provision that made it illegal to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibited the general registration of handguns was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment. The petitioner, Dick Heller, was a D.C. special police office authorized to carry a handgun on duty. Heller sued the District of Columbia for violating his Second Amendment right when his one-year application to keep his handgun at home for personal use was denied. Arguably the most controversial amendment of the constitution in present-day, the Second Amendment reads, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right…show more content…
I hold that the decision involves a distorted interpretation of an antiquated amendment, with the majority opinion utilizing their preferred reading of the amendment to cater to their agenda. A more natural reading of the amendment demonstrates that the Framers’ intent encompassed an individual’s right to own arms for military service only. Moreover, when addressing the effect of the clause, as advised to the Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803), the present-day translation of the amendment shows that its devastating effects on present-day society call for an updated interpretation of the amendment. Therefore, the District of Columbia decision should be promptly overturned, and the question of gun control outside of the militia context left to the decision of directly elected legislative…show more content…
To Justice Scalia, this means that the individual has “the right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” (Scalia, 4). The question at stake, however, is not whether the individual or collective is protected but the scope of the right in question. In other words, while it is clear that the amendment protects the right to use guns for military services but does not protect its use for crimes, what rights does it encompass in between those extremities, such as the right to carry a weapon for personal self-defense? A more natural reading of the amendment, where the prefactory clause is read chronologically before the operative clause, shows the text’s intent to solely protect the rights of militia. This is proven, as pointed out in the dissent, by the fact that states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania explicitly articulated in their Declaration of Rights at the time the separate right of individuals to bear arms for self-defense. The second amendment was adopted to protect the right of constituents to serve in the militia for the ultimate purpose of protecting State’s share of sovereignty with the Federal government. Militias, while no longer relevant, can be translated into our modern day military system. The amendment in no way mentions the
Get Access