Sunday, March 22, 2015

Second Amendment

Second Amendment

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

 On June 26, 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court issued its first decision since 1939 interpreting the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense. It also ruled that two District of Columbia provisions, one that banned handguns and one that required lawful firearms in the home to be disassembled or trigger-locked, violate this right. However, since the District of Columbia is a federal enclave, the applicability of the Second Amendment to the states remained an open issue.

McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states. The Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The 5-4 decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.

Facts in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010): Chicago resident Otis McDonald, a 76 year old (in 2010) retired maintenance engineer, had lived in the Morgan Park neighborhood since buying a house there in 1971. McDonald decried the decline of his neighborhood, describing it as being taken over by gangs and drug dealers. His lawn was regularly littered with refuse and his home and garage had been broken into a combined five times, with the most recent robbery committed by a man McDonald recognized from his own neighborhood.

An experienced hunter, McDonald legally owned shotguns, but believed them too unwieldy in the event of a robbery, and wanted to purchase a handgun for personal home defense. Due to Chicago's requirement that all firearms in the city be registered, yet refusing all handgun registrations after 1982 when a citywide handgun ban was passed, he was unable to legally own a handgun. As a result, in 2008, he joined three other Chicago residents in filing a lawsuit which became McDonald v. Chicago.

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