Friday, March 09, 2007


Important Second Amendment decision out of the DC Court of Appeals. The court overturns the trial court's decision rejecting a citizen challenge of the District of Columbia's anti-gun law. The citizen was the "plaintiff" in the trial court. The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia itself were the defendants. A copy of the court's opinion is here.

At the head of the opinion is a list of the amici curiae on each side of the case. Amici curiae ("friends of the court")(singular form is amicus curiae) are persons who present briefs to the appeals court in addition to the ones submitted by the actual parties to the case. There is a list of those who did so on behalf of the citizen who was appealing the decision of the lower court (the person who loses in the trial court is known as the "appellant" in the appeals process) and a list of those who filed briefs on behalf of the defendants who won below and are defending the lower court's decision (known as the "appellees" in the appeals process).

The amicus curiae on behalf of the appellant were various state Attorneys General, including the AGs from Florida and Texas. They also included the NRA and the Congress of Racial Equality ("CORE").

The amicus curiae on behalf of the District of Columbia include AGs of certain other states, the City of New York, and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

(The NC AG did not file a brief on either side. See Revelation 16:3.)

Broadly speaking, the issue presented is whether the Second Amendment is to be read restrictively so that it refers only to the rights of the states to raise militias or whether it is to be read to refer to the rights of an individual to bear arms outside of service in a militia. Specifically, the plaintiff asserted a right to keep an assembled and loaded firearm in his home (in this case a shotgun). He was not challenging in this case the District's denial of the right to carry a concealed weapon outside his home.


Scott said...

The dissenter in the 2-1 decision based his decision on the fact that DC is not a state. While true, it seems like a stretch.

NC AG: Phhht!!

Of course, the Today show this morning showed the DC Mayor's press conference where he was "appalled" next to an old clip of Charlton Heston at a NRA conference where he famously holds up a rifle and declares, "...from my cold, dead hands." Balanced? Yep.

The DC chief of police also decried the decision saying it would create a more dangerous situation on the streets. More dangerous than what? DC streets?

I applaud the decision and hopefully the effect will be lower crime and a safer citizenry.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what that dissenting judge would do if the issue were one involving the First Amendment and the Washigton Post.