Lawyers, Guns and Money Redux

Earlier today the District of Columbia formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the March 9, 2007 decision of U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that invalidated the District’s 31-year-old handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds. The Petition for Writ of Certiorari is available here (.pdf, 48 pages).

The arguments aren’t surprising. From Page 2 of the Petition:

The decision below is mistaken in three fundamental respects. First, as the overwhelming majority of circuit decisions conclude, the text and history of the Second Amendment establish that it protects weapons possession and use only in connection with service in state-regulated militias. . . . Second, even if there is a right to possess and use weapons unrelated to militia service, the Second Amendment restricts only federal interference with state-regulated militias and state recognized gun rights. Legislation enacted by the District does not implicate the Amendment. Third, in any event, the District law at issue in this case does not infringe whatever right the Second Amendment could be read to protect, because it is eminently reasonable to permit private ownership of other types of weapons, including shotguns and rifles, but ban the easily concealed and uniquely dangerous modern handgun.

The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal, but smart money says that the Court will take the case and issue its first pronouncement on the Second Amendment since the cryptic decision United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).

An op-ed piece penned by the District’s mayor and attorney general is available here. The first rate commentary of SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston is available here. SCD’s prior entry on the case is here.

UPDATE: There’s a lively email debate involving lawprofs, lawyers and pundits here courtesy of the Federalist Society. U. Tenn.’s Glenn Reynolds predicts that the Supreme Court will deny cert!

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  • Heraldblog  On September 5, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Some 2nd amendment zealot once told me that “well regulated” means “standardized”, as in “everybody carries the same type of weapon with interchangeable parts and ammo.” Somehow this interpretation can be used to extend 2nd Amendment rights to individuals. Have you ever heard this one?

  • genghishitler  On September 5, 2007 at 6:44 am

    lol No, that’s a new one on me. That would have been a pretty neat trick in the late 18th Century! Everything I’ve read indicates that “well regulated” meant extensively drilled in handling and using firearms.

    Moreover, “same type of weapon with interchangeable parts and ammo” –> individual right seems like a non sequitur of biblical proportions.


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