BELLEVUE, WA – A ruling Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that strikes down the District’s 1976 handgun ban and holds that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms is “a landmark for liberty, and an affirmation that everything the gun rights community has been saying for years is correct,” the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
The 2-1 ruling came in the case of Parker v. District of Columbia. Senior Judge Laurence H. Silberman wrote the opinion, with Judge Thomas B. Griffith concurring. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented. The ruling holds that the District’s long-standing ban on carrying a pistol in the home for personal protection is unconstitutional. SAF filed an amicus brief in the case.
In his ruling, Judge Silberman wrote, “In sum, the phrase ‘the right of the people,’ when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual.”
“This is a huge victory for firearm civil rights,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “It shreds the so-called ‘collective right theory’ of gun control proponents, and squarely puts the Second Amendment where it has always belonged, as a protection of the individual citizen’s right to have a firearm for personal defense.”
Judge Silberman’s ruling notes that the Second Amendment “acknowledges…a right that pre-existed the Constitution like ‘the freedom of speech’.”
“Because the right to arms existed prior to the formation of the new government,” Judge Silberman wrote, “the Second Amendment only guarantees that the right ‘shall not be infringed’.”
Silberman’s ruling also observed, “The right of self-preservation…was understood as the right to defend oneself against attacks by lawless individuals, or, if absolutely necessary, to resist and throw off a tyrannical government.”
“Judge Silberman’s ruling,” Gottlieb said, “reverses 31 years of unconstitutional infringement on the rights of District of Columbia residents, not only to keep and bear arms, but to be safe and secure in their own homes. This is a ruling that should make all citizens proud that we live in a nation where the rights of individual citizens trump political correctness.”
The ruling may be viewed here.
SAF has also mirrored the decision on our site here.