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June the 26th marked the third year since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller case. The Heller case has been viewed as a major affirmation of what the Second Amendment to the Constitution means. The fact that the basic meaning of the Second Amendment must be interpreted by the Supreme Court just goes to show how plain language can, in many instances, be viewed in very different ways . . .

For those involved in the Heller case, the decision by the SCOTUS was surely bitter sweet. It verified the individual right to bear arms in self-defense. But the decision did not validate what many people were probably hoping it would; that not only should every law-abiding individual have the right to keep and bear arms, but should be able to do so with absolute minimal government intervention.

“Reasonable restrictions,” as we’ve seen, are still upheld by the different states. The Heller case failed to establish the full reach of what most of us want the Second Amendment to establish but not without at least being specific about the right to arms for self-defense. Justice Scalia wrote,

Putting all of these textual elements together, [referring to the clause “keep and bear arms”] we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553, 23 L.Ed. 588 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed ….”

As far as the case goes, been there, done that. However, it is certainly interesting reading even three years later.

Looking beyond the decision made in Heller (which only garnered support by five of the nine justices) and the decision made in McDonald, there are other accomplishments in several state legislatures that are noteworthy in the time that has passed since each of these Supreme Court cases.

For instance, Arizona has adopted a Constitutional Carry style of concealed firearms. As long as one is not otherwise restricted from having a concealed firearm, citizens in Arizona, along with Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming, can carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Several states have adopted state firearms in commemoration of firearm designers or the role a specific firearm played in the formation and establishment/history of the state. And one item of significance; gun sales are up, thanks in part to the fear-mongering of the Obama Administration.

The anti-gunners fail to see the writing on the wall. America is not as gun-hating as the anti-gunners would want. With somewhere around 200 million guns in circulation, the population who owns at least a gun is growing. With several manufacturers of guns and accessories being based here in America, those purchases are also creating and maintaining jobs for Americans (imagine that…).

As members of the Armed Intelligentsia crowd here on TTAG, we are part of the population that elects those congresspersons who uphold our right to keep and bear arms. We are the ones who help sustain the industry that is vital to our hobbies, professions, self-defense, and local economies.

The big question is what else can we do to keep moving in the right direction? How much are we involved at the local level to create or maintain a pro-gun viewpoint in the wake of court cases like Heller or other legislation that supports (or opposes) the Second Amendment?

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29 Responses to Happy Anniversary, D.C. v. Heller . . . Now What?

  1. Not a thing has changed here in New York. Throughout the downstate counties, carry is still generally prohibited.

    • Legally this is chess not checkers. There maybe no reason to file in NY city directly when any federal court within that circuit will do.

      We need a couple of things 1st before we get there. Think low hanging fruit first.

  2. First, a minor quibble; the number of guns in civilian hands the USA is probably closer to 300 Million, or slightly less than one gun per person, the highest ratio of any country. Nobody knows for sure and I like that kind of ambiguity. Also, lets not forget the many, many billions of rounds possessed by those same citizens.

    Where do we go from Heller and McDonald you ask? Well, here are a few cases to keep your eyes on; Hightower v. Boston (MA) , Muller v. Maenza (NJ) , Woollard v. Sheridan (MD) and Kachalsky v. Cacace (NY) to name a few. More are in the wings waiting for their chance. Relentless and rational litigation, with litigants who are beyond reproach, will prove to be an unstoppable and unassailable force. Our enemies, and make no mistake because they are our enemies, will be hammered to dust and swept from the battlefield by the strategies and tactics now coming into play. The pathetic bastards don’t have a chance, and they know it full well whether they choose to admit it publicly or not.

    It took seven long decades to get to where we were just a few short years ago; on the ropes, bruised, bleeding and sucking wind. Today, the tables have turned and we’re on the offensive like never before. Think of the ’94 AWB as Pearl Harbor or the great awakening. Think of Heller as the Battle of Midway and McDonald as the Battle of Iwo Jima. We’re closing in on the homeland, the enemy is in disarray and they’re panicking, running scared. Our enemies made a fatal mistake in that they kept poking a sleeping giant and they have discovered that, much as Yamamoto warned, that there is a rifle behind every blade of grass.

    Of course, we’ll shed more blood and treasure as the fight continues, but we will win, and we will win decisively. What will we win? Well, several things come logically to mind. First and foremost, the 2A will become fully incorporated against the states under the 14th. Shall issue and national reciprocity will at last be the acknowledged law of the land. NFA ’34, GCA ’68 and FOPA ’86 (including the onerous Hughes Amendment) will be extensively modified, in our favor; likely before the current decade is out. Will we have the Founder’s 2A in the next decade? No. But we will be a lot closer to that than we have ever been in most of our collective living memory. And I can comfortably live with that as I ride out the last couple/three decades of my life.

    Gura and Co., along with the 2A activists and the bloggers, have inexorably changed the battle space. The 800 pound gorilla that is the NRA, though they have been a fair ally (if a somewhat treacherous one at times) and a reasonably potent deterrent to our enemies depredations, in the final analysis they won’t be seen winning any medals for valor. More has happened in the last few years by the courage and actions of the former than has been accomplished by the latter in my lifetime, generally speaking.

    Keep the faith, stick to truth and first principles, maintain courage, stay strong, believe in the mission, stay in the fight and fight to win.

    • I really don’t think of Heller and McDonald as “offensive” victories. I see them more like successful goal-line stands (sorry, a football analogy came to mind more quickly than a military battle analogy!) because they are defensive victories. It troubles me that McDonald is only a plurality – its not a very strong opinion at all.

      I have to say, I would love to see the day when the Hughes Amendment goes bye-bye, but I’m not holding my breath. As for a repeal of NFA 34 and GCA 68 … not gonna happen. Restructuring and tweaks…. maybe… But the overall goal and purpose will not change. What would possibly make you think that the political sentiment is going in that direction, in any event? I actually think the opposite – I think it is likely that the D’s will push through a hi-cap mag ban in 2013, and I also think that they will try to make make background checks mandatory for private transfers (in other words, close what some people refer to as the “gunshow loophole.”)

      • Considering the Hughes Amendment wasn’t even passed properly, I too would like to either see it gone, or have the registry opened back up for a number of years. I want my machinegun. And I want it now. Well, maybe just a M16 and a Tommy gun.

        Here’s the video of the voting. The votes aren’t there but Rangel called it passed anyway. Yup the same Rangel that faced corruption charges recently.

      • I know for a fact that the anti’s found Heller and McDonald pretty offensive. ;>) Not withstanding the fact that both cases were mere marginal pluralities, they have set the stage for very strong strategic victories to come. I don’t expect to see the repeal of NFA ’34 or GCA ’68 either. Restructuring and tweaks, absolutely. That’s how it will be done, one or two bricks at a time. The principle of ordinary/common use will prevent a standard capacity magazine ban as well as a new, stronger and more onerous AWB, try as they will. Why should citizens be put at a disadvantage compared to those whom the citizen’s have authorized to act on our behalf? The majority of people are coming to recognize that the tools aren’t the problem and they will act/vote accordingly in the final analysis. It’s what rational and educated people do when given half a chance and sufficient evidence.

        As far as the issue of private transfers/gun-show loophole is concerned, I honestly don’t think that that is going to get any traction either, any time soon. Since Kelo Vs. City of New London, people have a new perspective on private property rights, even if today that view isn’t widely held or in the majority’s consciousness. Look at what many legislatures have done in reaction to the decision across the country as the result of citizen outrage. Slowly, albeit very slowly, people are becoming more classically liberal and libertarian in their world view. Americans are nothing if not tenacious, forthright and skeptical. We don’t like being told to do this or that for our own good and we can smell ineffectual BS from a mile away. The prohibition against interstate handgun transfers will likely be history before this decade is out (no FFL retailers in DC).

        All in all I’m pretty optimistic about our future. We’ve still got a very tough fight ahead of us but we will win, one battle at a time. We can’t let up, not even for an instant. We need to continue to show our enemies for the irrational, lying bigots that they are. We need to relentlessly confront them and those who would be seduced by them with relentless rational arguments, strong case law and irrefutable facts. History, truth and righteousness are on our side.

  3. I’m sure you are well aware the Federal system moves like molasses. Nor does it help when unhelpful judges sit on cases without releasing their opinions (Palmer v. District of Columbia). Since the risk of impeachment for a judge is all but zero, the only thing to hurry a reluctant judge is the idea that another case will be decided by a pro judge 1st.

    It took over 50 years to get to this point. It will take 50+ years to get back and that’s IF we can change the mindset of non gun owning judges to embrace what we believe to heart.

    I expect the level of scrutiny to be decided within the next couple of years. I find it doubtful that rational basis will be the level adopted. That is barring one of the Heller 5 doesn’t get ill and need to be replaced. Even at intermediate scrutiny, the idea of banning any firearm in common usage becomes a thing of the past.

    I expect carry outside the home to be decided as well within the next couple of years. Possibly Williams v. Maryland.

    Gentlemen this is chess, not checkers. There is a specific strategy to establish precedent and build momentum. Easier cases are often fielded first and not always as a frontal assault. Why file in New York City, when another state might have more favorable judges? The right people (no, not the NRA) are going after the low hanging fruit.

    We may possibly win every forthcoming case. We may lose a few as well. Keep in mind that once the 1st Amendment was incorporated against the states (through the 14th amendment) to took many decades to get it all hashed out.

  4. My personal dream is the relaxing of some laws. If a special permission of my sheriff and licensing is done for full auto weapons, why can’t a valid purchaser buy a three burst/tri burst rifle w/o jumping hurdles. I would even allow for a test of proficiency, although that isn’t required for full auto, only CWP in my state. I’m not then at even odds with the military, they have missiles and airpower! One once could mail order a Thompson submachine gun, or freely buy it at any gun shop. Tri fire weaponry is more controllable anyway (and a lot cheaper on the ammo). Having my Ruger SR in 6.8 and my Beretta carbine in three burst capability would be most awesome.

    • You need a NFA trust! Talk to an attorney specializing in firearms. With a NFA trust, no signature from the Sheriff/LE needed. No fingerprints or photos either. If in a state where item is permissible, the ATF will send you your stamp. So you can get your suppressors, machine guns, etc 🙂

      CA doesn’t allow suppressors or machine guns, but a NFA trust makes AOWs (except pen guns) and C&R SBSs/SBRs legal NFA items. Most Californians aren’t aware that this can be done 🙂

  5. The PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF NY is run by a bunch of lowlife COMMIES, and it’s zombie citizens are screwed.

  6. We were all spoiled. We got the rare treat of a blockbuster 2A case in back to back session of the Supreme Court. Moving forward we should really only hope to have one every other session. We have pretty good odds on carry for next June (ie. June 2012.)

    -Gene

  7. It was “surely bitter sweet” or as the other guy said, a “goal line stand.” Maybe you could go just a teeny bit further and say Helmke was right. It was a victory for the gun control folks and a loss for you. Remember how you guys reacted to that? Now you’re slowly coming around.

    Eventually, you’ll probably agree with me. The 2A has no relevance in today’s world. None.

    • Libya…Syria…Yemen…

      I bet those people would sure like a 2nd Amendment.

      You’ve already pretty much proven that you don’t care for others as long as you want “peace” and “love.”

      You are guilty of false compassion.

      Haven’t you realized that whenever you love someone you usually end up controlling them?

      “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the desire to rule it.” – HL Mencken

      Not surprising coming from someone who can’t do basic math or even tell truth from falsity.

    • Hi Mikey, I’m deeply sorry for your recent loss in Wisconsin and I do undersand the grieving process. I suspect that you’re somewhere between denial and anger right about now, you might even be somewhere between anger and bargaining; it’s a little hard to tell with so little to go on. Illinois will likely become shall issue in the next few years if not sooner. Wyoming just went constitutional carry, NC adopted castle doctrine and also amended their militia statutes, Ohio now allows CCW in bars and the victories just keep on coming in that big 2a hit parade. Ca, Hi, NY, Ma and Md will all be shall issue before the decade is out and national reciprocity will be the acknowledged law of the land in the same time frame. I also know that must be a very bitter pill for you and your fellow travelers to swallow. I sincerely hope that you and yours are ultimately able to work your way through the depression and reach the acceptance stage. My instinct tells me that for many of you, it will be all but impossible to reach the acceptance stage. Sigh…such is life.

      You see, it really is very simple. The 2a is a fundamental and essential human and civil right. Most people recognize that. The 2A is not obsolete and as long as there are humans, it never will be. The bigots and fools who would deny law abiding citizens of their essential rights are playing a very dangerous game and they would do well to quit while they’re ahead for they will never carry the day and they and we would all be much better off were they to direct their energies to something that would actually benefit our society. No good comes from making people defenseless and dependent on others for their protection.

      Today, the 2A restoration movement is using techniques pioneered by the great Thurgood Marshall and others to hammer their bigotry, their ignorance and their foolishness into dust. The kumbayah grass eaters and the ever treacherous control-freak, nanny state/police state, “we’re doing this for your own good” overlords, will eventually fade into irrelevance.

      Mikey, I feel your pain. It’s a real bummer, dude, being on the wrong side of history. Like the Vichy.

    • Mike, you are wrong to say that Heller and McDonald are wins for the gun control folks. You can bet the gun grabbers cried their eyes out when they read those opinions. The consequence of those cases going the other way would have been profound – all of the “liberal” states, counties, and cities would have swiftly enacted outright ownership / possession prohibitions (for so-called assault weapons and handguns), and I’m sure some would have gone so far as to demand mandatory turn-ins of handguns. So we overted a big diaster… I’m glad these cases were brought when our side had the votes already pre-counted.

        • Mikey, in five years, that would be you. Stock up on tissues laddy, you’ll need them.

        • Pretty sure Chuckie Schumer and your golden boy Helmke have said the exact same thing with the Brady Bill and the AWB…and now look what’s happened.

  8. On the national level I’m just a number. I stay informed, vote accordingly and I keep my NRA membership up.

    Locally I have more influence as an individual. I take people shooting who might not otherwise go. This past spring I took my brother-in-law and his girlfriend to the range. This gal was afraid of guns – terrified of them. I showed her the NATO rounds and told her who used them and then I held up a .22lr round and told her she would be shooting the .22. By comparison the .22 seemed harmless and this put her at ease somewhat.
    After the safety lesson and grip, stance, etc., she started on paper and worked her way to popping soda cans. She had a blast, conquered her fear of guns and she even posed with the evil AR15 for her Facebook page. A Convert!
    Exposing people to guns this way is a great way to “mainstream” the sport and, more importantly, the idea that guns aren’t always scary tools of violence and hatred.

    Maybe someone should take MikeB shooting! Anyone, anyone?

    • He already has – or at least he’s claimed to be a ex-Marine. Who has owned guns legally and illegally.

    • It is pretty clear cut to me, but it’s just like Sir mikeb’s doing the 3AM rounds on the posts, putting comments only where HE thinks he can win the argument, or muddle the argument enough to increase his vagueness. His arguments don’t hold water and he can’t brainwash us with his skewed “facts” like he does with his 15 or so followers. He started to try and discredit me this morning under the post of P-whatever(the cop killer)=mikeb302000. I responded to his attempt, I find questioning my pride in serving way out of bounds, and he ran away. He got caught early in trying to discredit me and wouldn’t continue on. My response was in anger, admittedly, as I find his character and style to be very low.

  9. First of all, I’m not a twit. It’s not nice to call people names.

    Secondly, that is not my endgame, you took the quote out of context. You do that because you’re a dirty fighter, you resort to unethical tricks when your argument flounders.

    • This is a friggin’ culture war you’ve declared on us. Who said the fight had to be fair?

      And for the most part – considering how much replies you generate every time you post here – your argument is friggin’ unstable. Not to mention you can’t seem to counter every one of them.

      You might want to explain yourself on that one if you honestly believe you’re taken out of context.

    • How was the quote out of context? It seemed perfectly straightforward to me. Do you disavow it?

    • Mikey, there’s an old saying that if you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck. Whether it’s a gun fight, a street fight or a fight for one’s civil rights, invoking Marquess of Queensbury rules is foolishness at best. As David Codrea is fond of saying; “any chair in a bar fight”. Or as my Dad told me; Never go looking for a fight, but if a fight finds you and there’s no graceful way of getting out of it, you damned well better give it everything you’ve got. Now, we Armed Intellegentsia are, by and large, rational and fair minded ladies and gentlemen who respect the rule of law and the dignity of our fellow citizens so long as the reciprocal holds. When it doesn’t, well, you place your bets and you take your chances.

    • Mike says: “You do that because you’re a dirty fighter, * * *.”

      If you are fighting fair, your tactics suck.

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