Right To Bear Arms

August 6, 2012

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark recently ruled that residents of the Wilmington (DE) Housing Authority may not carry firearms in “common areas” of public housing buildings.  2012 WL 3065285.  Residents were divided on the decision, but the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence proclaimed:

“Yet again, a court has affirmed that the Second Amendment does not infringe on gun owners’ rights when it comes to common-sense restrictions on the carrying of guns in public spaces.”

It has been suggested the ruling may become a national model.

There have been various legal battles waged over gun control. On June 28, 2010, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the United States Supreme Court (130 S.Ct. 3020) prohibited state and local governments from blanket bans on gun ownership. The city of Chicago and the village of Oak Park (IL) instituted bans on handgun possession impacting many citizens. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment fully applies to states by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, and as the local blanket bans on handguns violated the Second Amendment, they were unconstitutional.

In another case, District of Columbia v. Heller (128 S.Ct. 2783), the Supreme Court ruled that a D.C. statute banning handgun possession in the home violated the Second Amendment. In its opinion, the court explicitly stated that its ruling was not meant to clarify the entire field of Second Amendment issues, but that “there will be time enough to expound upon the historical justifications for the exceptions we have mentioned if and when those exceptions come before us.” (128 S.Ct. at 2821).

It will be very interesting to see how courts analyze and adjudicate future cases involving the right to bear arms. Interested observers may want to focus their scope—er, their attention—on further developments.

For more information on this issue, the following queries may be run on WestlawNext:

Content: Cases
Jurisdiction: All Federal

Content: Secondary Sources
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal