2ND AMENDMENT COURT CASES

District of Columbia v. Heller & McDonald v. Chicago

District of Columbia v. Heller

SUMMARY:

  • Case was concerning the meaning of the 2nd Amendment and how it should be applied to regulated gun control laws

  • District of Columbia passed laws restricting handguns, required licenses for pistols, and required all legal guns to be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked

  • Private gun owners filed the suit, claiming that their 2nd Amendment rights were being taken away

  • The fed. trial court in Washington D.C. said that the 2nd Amendment only applied to militias, like the National Guard, NOT to private gun owners

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed, they said the 2nd Amendment DOES protect private gun owners

  • Respondents have urged the Court to look over the case and to clearly define the


ISSUE:

  • What rights are protected by the 2nd Amendment?


PRECEDENT:

  • “No precedent forecloses this interpretation.” ”--Summary of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. __, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008).

  • United States v. Miller limits the type of weapon the decision applies to, but does not limit the right to bear arms to militia purpose

  • This case was referred to in the McDonald’s vs. Chicago


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

  • This case determines that the 2nd Amendment protects the right for individual gun owners


PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE:

  • Different cases have been heard about the constitutionality of a variety of gun control laws, from firearm possession by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence, or which type of gun -- machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and/or specific weapon attachments. There have also been challenges to laws about barring guns in post offices or near schools.

  • The NRA has filed five related lawsuits since the Heller decision.In four Illinois lawsuits, the NRA tried to have the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, causing the Second Amendment to apply to state and local jurisdictions and not just to the federal government


FUTURE SIGNIFICANCE:

  • This case determines that the 2nd Amendment protects the right for individual gun owners, making this case something to reference in the future.

McDonald v. Chicago

SUMMARY:

  • Several suits were filed against Chicago and Oak Park in Illinois challenging their gun bans after the Supreme Court issued its opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.

  • In that previous case, the Court said that the 2nd Amendment was applicable because it was under the authority of the federal government. It was argued that the 2nd Amendment should apply to the states.

  • The district court dismissed the suits

  • On the appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed

  • The SC reversed the Seventh Circuit, saying that the 14th Amendment makes the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense applicable to the states.

  • The court recognized in Heller that the right to self-defense was a fundamental right


PRECEDENT:

  • The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will determine the power of states and municipalities to control the possession of handguns.

ISSUE:

  • Does the 2nd Amendment apply to states? It was argued that it’s not stated in the 14th Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities or Due Process clauses and therefore might not be applicable to the states.

  • May a state or local government ban possession of handguns in light of the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms?

  • Whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges or Immunities or Due Process Clauses.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

  • Another 2nd Amendment case, the Amendment was used to argue for the case, just like in Heller

  • Some states in support of McDonald argue that federalism concerns are misplaced because the right to bear arms is a fundamental right.


PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE:

  • Chicago will have to revise its gun control policy, especially its ban on keeping handguns at home for self-defense

  • Different cases have been heard about the constitutionality of a variety of gun control laws, from firearm possession by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence, or which type of gun -- machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and/or specific weapon attachments. There have also been challenges to laws about barring guns in post offices or near schools.

  • The NRA has filed five related lawsuits since the Heller decision.In four Illinois lawsuits, the NRA tried to have the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, causing the Second Amendment to apply to state and local jurisdictions and not just to the federal government


FUTURE SIGNIFICANCE:

  • This case determines that the 2nd Amendment protects the right for individual gun owners, making this case something to reference in the future.Though the constitutionality of handgun laws revolves primarily around the 2nd Amendment, the 14th Amendment, which guarantees due process and equal protection under the laws, also played an important role in the McDonald ruling. In the majority opinion, Justice Alito wrote: “It is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.”