I’ve been holding my breath all morning waiting for this opinion…allow me to release. WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!

With four consistently conservative, four consistently liberal, and one swing voter on the Court, I really wasn’t sure which way this case would go. I was thrilled to see that Kennedy decided to side with individual liberty rather than the power of the government.

The D.C. gun ban case (which I’ve blogged about before), titled District of Columbia v. Heller, concerns a Washington D.C. security guard whose application to have a handgun in his home was rejected by the District. He argued that the Second Amendment provides for a citizen’s right to possess firearms for personal protection; his opposition argued that the Second Amendment only provides the right to form a militia (which, if you ask me, is absurd as one wouldn’t actually be able to form a militia without some sort of firearm. “Look out, US Army! I’m comin’ atcha with a…switchblade?”)

The Court ruled that the Second Amendment does allow for personal protection through possession of a handgun and, therefore, the D.C. gun ban does infringe on residents’ Constitutional rights.

In the majority opinion, Justice Scalia wrote, “The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”

What I find terribly amusing about the dissenting opinion, written by Justice Breyer, is that this liberal Justice suddenly cares about the “intent of the framers.” Rather than deciding this particular case based on a “living, breathing document,” Breyer decided that, this time around, it might be better to consider the intent of the framers. He said, “Thus I here assume that one objective of those who wrote the Second Amendment was to help assure citizens that they would have arms available for purposes of self-defense.” He does, however, go on to conclude that the gun ban isn’t too restrictive (because I can presumably fit a rifle – which is still legal in D.C. – into my handbag?). I would have had a little more respect for Breyer’s opinion if he had stuck with the standard “that’s not really necessary now”/”the Constitution is a living, breathing document” argument that is so typical.

So the D.C. gun ban is officially unconstitutional. Gun Rights organizations are already working on challenging the gun bans in Chicago and San Fransisco, which are nearly as sweeping as those in D.C.

This is a good day for law-abiding gun owners. Not such a good day for criminals.

For more info, see: D.C. v. Heller opinion, SCOTUS Blog, and CNN News Story.

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