District of Columbia



D.C Federal Court v. Heller

-Dick Anthony Heller registers for handgun

*he is a special police officer and was allowed to have a handgun while on duty

-Not included in any state militia

-City does not allow him to register

*He wanted to have a handgun to keep at home

-Law states that militia must keep pistols disarmed

“Residents are required to keep such firearms ‘unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device’ unless they are located in a place of business or are being used for a lawful recreational activity.” (casebriefs)

Heller goes to U.S. Court of Appeals

-Heller denied at Federal Court

-U.S. Court of Appeals retries the case

-Federal Court and U.S. Appeals dispute over constitutionality of the city law

  • “The Court of Appeals construed Heller’s complaint as seeking the right to render a firearm operable and carry it in his home only when necessary for self defense, and held that the total ban on handguns violated the individual right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment” (lawnix)

Heller Takes case to U.S. Supreme Court

-Does the city law violate the Second Amendment?

-Law denies Huller though he is not in any militia.

Decision- 5:4 for Heller, 4 vote(s) against


Led by Scalia.

Says that the 2nd amend. is a natural right.


Stevens: the 2nd amend. was made only for militia

Breyer: gun regulations wrong only if "unreasonable or inappropriate"

(D.C.’s were not)

The Aftermath:

The lower courts [routinely have] upheld federal laws banning gun ownership by people convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors, and by illegal immigrants and by drug addicts. They have upheld laws banning machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, upheld laws making it illegal to carry guns near schools or in post offices, and upheld laws concerning concealed and unregistered weapons.” The New York Times further quoted a UCLA law professor to say that “the Heller case is a landmark decision that has not changed very much at all. To date, the federal courts have not invalidated a single gun control law on the basis of the Second Amendment since Heller.”9

by Christopher Verastegui Rojas

& Priscilla De Alba

D.C. v. Heller - Google Slides