Law Dictionary

District of Columbia v. Heller

U.S. Case Law

legal Definition of District of Columbia v. Heller

554 U.S. 570 (2008), held that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to private gun owners for their use for traditionally lawful purposes (as self-defense), and not only to members of a militia. The ruling struck down a District of Columbia law banning unregistered handguns and prohibiting the registration of handguns, and placing other firearms restrictions. In a dissent, Justice Stevens pointed out that the Supreme Court and state courts had upheld government restrictions on possession and ownership of weapons since the decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). The majority, however, found that the D.C. law's effective ban on the possession of handguns by individuals was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.

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