"In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment , as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home."We hold--this is the holding. That means this is the only part of the decision with actual legal value as a precedent. Of course, Scalia doesn't give a fuck about precedent--even if he wrote the opinion!
Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights:this sounds like a background check, and a pretty extensive one at that.
to register his handgun and must issue him a license--that's pretty clear language.
Well, maybe to everyone but a gun loon.
In other words, SCOTUS says that registration, licensing, and background checks DO NOT violate the Second Amendment.
No where in this holding are the words "individual right" mentioned. It may be bantered about all through the dicta, but one learns that dicta has zip value for precedent sometime in the first week of law school.
Because that is how the court explains its thought processes in reaching the holding.
But, we are going to go to the dicta for other guidance as to what "reasonable regulation" might mean, especially since Heller made it pretty clear that the newly created right was severely limited (see holding above):
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). 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.Which has as a footnote (26):
We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.McDonald v.Chicago was similarly reassuring:
It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 54). We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” “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.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 54–55). We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.In fact, looking at these decisions, the current state of the District of Columbia's gun laws, and some other strict gun laws that are still standing: there is no reason for a legislator who claims to support the Second Amendment to NOT support background checks and registration. Nothing in either Heller or McDonald prevents the adoption of reasonable laws to reduce gun violence.
After all, the Heller and McDonald decisions both held these measures do not violate the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Additionally, most Second Amendment challenges to gun laws have proven to be failures. The Second Amendment has been a pretty poor defence to gun laws in the past, and will probably continue to remain that way.
Of course, we could get into the Constitutionality of a court reviewing of legislative acts...
- The facts about gun control and universal background checks | New Republic
- Gun Ownership Rights Under Heller | Nolo.com
- The Second Amendment Battleground: Victories in the Courts and Why They Matter
- Despite 2nd Amendment Cases, Firearms Codes Are Moving Targets
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – Post-Heller Litigation Summary