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On Anniversaries Of Supreme Court Rulings, Gun Lobby Failing To Strike Down Gun Laws, New Report Shows
WASHINGTON - July 1 - A comprehensive new report, Hollow Victory?, released today by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence examines the results of more than 400 challenges to gun laws filed by the gun lobby and gun criminals since the U.S. Supreme Court held three years ago this week that the Second Amendment provides an “individual right” to possess guns in the home for self-defense. The report finds that the courts have overwhelmingly rejected those challenges.
Yet felons, domestic abusers, and the gun lobby continue to file new legal challenges, including cases seeking to allow people to venture out armed into riots, to allow teenagers to carry loaded guns in public, to force guns onto the streets of the nation’s capital, and to take away police discretion to allow the carrying of loaded guns in public only by people who demonstrate good cause.
“We are pleased that the courts have overwhelmingly rejected the gun lobby’s dangerous campaign to overturn common-sense gun laws and force guns into every nook and corner of our society, “said Brady Center President Paul Helmke. “The U.S. Supreme Court made clear that the Second Amendment allows sensible gun laws to keep our families and communities safe from gun violence. But we must remain vigilant, for if any of these ill-founded legal challenges succeeds, life-saving gun laws could be jeopardized. ”
More than 400 legal challenges -- an average of more than 2 1/2 a week -- have been filed since the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller on June 26, 2008 that the Second Amendment grants a limited right to possess guns in the home for self-defense. One year ago today, the Supreme Court in McDonald v. City of Chicago extended that ruling nationwide. Yet aside from overturning the handgun bans challenged directly in these two cases in Washington and Chicago, in every major policy area pursued by the gun lobby in the courts, gun lobby lawsuits have met defeat.
The report finds that courts have rejected gun criminal and gun lobby lawsuits in five major gun policy areas. Courts have held that: 1) there is no right to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public, 2) there is no right to military-style assault weapons and assault clips, 3) felons and domestic abusers have no right to possess firearms, 4) gun owners may be required to safely store guns in homes, and 5) gun owners may be required to register their guns.
The report finds that both federal and state courts are strictly adhering to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Heller and McDonald that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Illustrating the courts’ caution, in one recent case, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit rejected a claim that the Second Amendment grants a right to carry guns in cars in national parks, saying: “This is serious business. We do not wish to be even minutely responsible for some unspeakably tragic act of mayhem because in the peace of our judicial chambers we miscalculated as to Second Amendment rights.” Another federal court concluded, “Heller does not hold, nor even suggest, that concealed weapons laws are unconstitutional.”
The report concludes that it is crucial thatcourts continue to protect our communities from gun violence by rejecting lawsuits brought by gun criminals and the gun lobbyseeking to strike down common-sense gun laws that protect public safety and stop gun violence, and that for the gun lobby, Heller remains nothing more than a “hollow victory.”
To view the report, click here.