We all celebrated the 2008 Second Amendment Supreme Court decision in DC v. Heller. This narrow 5-4 victory for gun rights settled once and for all whether the right to own a firearm for self-defense was indeed an individual right. You’ll remember our Dave Kopel sat at the counsel’s table to assist the oral argument, in addition to writing a crucial amicus brief in defense of the Second Amendment.
So what’s new in the fight for your right to keep and bear arms? Turns out, as critical as the Heller decision was in advancing the cause, it only settled whether we as United States citizens have an individual right to keep and bear arms; a right the federal government may not infringe. What it did not settle was whether that right could be infringed upon at the state level. (The District of Columbia, which was the focal point of the Heller decision, is a federal jurisdiction and not a state). In other words, is the Second Amendment incorporated into the 14th amendment via the Due Process clause or the Privileges or Immunities clause. If the Supreme Court decides it is, then no state can infringe its citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.
This landmark Supreme Court case is McDonald v. Chicago. Good news is that lead counsel is once again Alan Gura, the man who won the victory in Heller. And once again, Dave Kopel has written an amicus brief on behalf of the Second Amendment. We shall see if this winning combination can strike gold twice. Dave joined me yesterday on iVoices.org to discuss where the case is at the moment, and the impact this decision will have. After the Independence Institute’s amicus brief is filed on Monday, we’ll do a podcast discussing what’s in that brief.