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District of Columbia v. Heller

Supreme Court of the United States

March 18, 2008, Argued; June 26, 2008, Decided

No. 07-290

Opinion

 [*573]  [**2787]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

We consider whether a District of Columbia prohibition on the possession of [**2788]  usable handguns in the home violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

 [*574]  I

The District of Columbia generally prohibits the possession  [****6] of handguns. It is a crime to carry an unregistered  [*575]  firearm, and the registration of handguns is prohibited. See D. C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(12), 7-2502.01(a), 7-2502.02(a)(4) (2001). Wholly apart from that prohibition, no person may carry a handgun without a license, but the chief of police may issue licenses for 1-year periods. See §§ 22-4504(a), 22-4506. District of Columbia law also requires residents to keep their lawfully owned firearms, such as registered long guns, "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 lawful recreational activities. See § 7-2507.02.1

Respondent *** Heller is a D. C. special police officer authorized to carry a handgun while on duty at the Thurgood Marshall Judiciary Building.  He applied for a registration certificate for a handgun that he wished to keep at home, but the District refused. He thereafter filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of  [***648] Columbia seeking,  [*576]  on Second Amendment grounds, to enjoin the city from enforcing the bar on the registration of handguns,  [****7] the licensing requirement insofar as it prohibits the carrying of a firearm in the home without a license, and the trigger-lock requirement insofar as it prohibits the use of "functional firearms within the home." App. 59a. The District Court dismissed respondent's complaint, see Parker v. District of Columbia, 311 F. Supp. 2d 103, 109 (2004).  The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, construing his complaint as seeking the right to render a firearm operable and carry it about his home in that condition only when necessary for self-defense,2 reversed, see Parker v. District of Columbia, 375 U.S. App. D.C. 140, 478 F.3d 370, 401 (2007).  It held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms and that the city's total ban on handguns, as well as its requirement that firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for self-defense, violated that right. See id., at 395, 399-401. The Court of Appeals directed the District Court to enter summary judgment for respondent.

We granted certiorari. 552 U.S. 1035, 128 S. Ct. 645, 169 L. Ed. 2d 417 (2007).

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554 U.S. 570 *; 128 S. Ct. 2783 **; 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 ***; 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5268 ****; 76 U.S.L.W. 4631; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 497

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Petitioners v. *** ANTHONY HELLER

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Subsequent History: Related proceeding at Heller v. District of Columbia, 698 F. Supp. 2d 179, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29063 (D.D.C., Mar. 26, 2010)

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370, 375 U.S. App. D.C. 140, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 5519 (2007)

Disposition: Affirmed.

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