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View Full Version : Quotes from Heller or "Cliff Notes for DC" (and Sacramento)


Liberty1
07-17-2008, 2:12 AM
http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/heller-quotes-from-the-majority/


snip...

...“The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute. Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home ‘the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,’ would fail constitutional muster.” (56-57)

“It is no answer to say, as petitioners do, that it is permissible to ban the possession of handguns so long as the possession of other firearms (i.e., long guns) is allowed. It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon.” (57)

“Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.” (57-58)

On the question of the Second Amendment’s application to the States: “With respect to Cruikshank’s continuing validity on incorporation, a question not presented by this case, we note that Cruikshank also said that the First Amendment did not apply against the States and did not engage in the sort of Fourteenth Amendment inquiry required by our later cases. Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 265 (1886) and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.” (48, footnote 23)

“And what is, according to JUSTICE STEVENS, the holding of Miller that demands such obeisance? That the Second Amendment ‘protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes, but that it does not curtail the legislature’s power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons.” Nothing so clearly demonstrates the weakness of JUSTICE STEVENS’ case. Miller did not hold that and cannot possibly be read to have held that.” (49)

“Miller stands only for the proposition that the Second Amendment right, whatever its nature, extends only to certain types of weapons.” (50)

“Read in isolation, Miller’s phrase ‘part of ordinary military equipment’ could mean that only those weapons useful in warfare are protected. That would be a startling reading of the opinion, since it would mean that the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machineguns (not challenged in Miller) might be unconstitutional, machineguns being useful in warfare in 1939.” (52)

“We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” (53)

“It should be unsurprising that such a significant matter has been for so long judicially unresolved. For most of our history, the Bill of Rights was not thought applicable to the States, and the Federal Government did not significantly regulate the possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens. Other provisions of the Bill of Rights have similarly remained unilluminated for lengthy periods.This Court first held a law to violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech in 1931, almost 150 years after the Amendment was ratified, see Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U. S. 697 (1931), and it was not until after World War II that we held a law invalid under the Establishment Clause, see Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Ed. of School Dist. No. 71, ChampaignCty., 333 U. S. 203 (1948).” (53-54)

“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” (54)...