Gun Owners of America Responds To Decision By Supreme Court

Gun Owners of America News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact Ellie McDaniel or Eddie Isler
June 26, 2008

(Springfield, VA) — Gun Owners of America today celebrated what amounts to a generally good decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the DC v. Heller case.

On the positive side, the Court struck down the DC handgun ban and trigger lock requirement. Dick Heller, the plaintiff, may now apply for a handgun license.

“This is a bad day for criminals,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “Honest citizens can once again defend themselves in our nation’s capital.”

The Court got the history right, spending 54 of 64 pages in the Scalia majority opinion to analyze the history behind the Second Amendment. Specifically, the court recognized the fear that a despotic federal government could disarm the people was a central purpose of the amendment — and it specifically overturns the trigger lock requirement out of a recognition that self-defense is a protected right envisioned by the amendment.

Moreover, GOA’s amicus brief urged the Court not to use the Heller case as a springboard to resolve the constitutionality of all of the nation’s firearms laws. In fact, the GOA brief was the only one making the request not to rule on automatic weapons and other issues, upholding judicial restraint. We are pleased that the Court heeded our admonition, limiting its holding to the case before it. In so doing, the Court’s decision — in dissenting Justice Breyer’s words — “threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States.”

“Dicta in this case implies that, in the future, courts might go further than the Constitution permits in upholding some gun restrictions,” Pratt said. “Nevertheless, we are pleased that the Court has so clearly stated that individuals, apart from any membership in a militia, have the right to own and use guns for self-defense.”

The Court’s opinion directly conflicts with what anti-rights advocates — like those in the Brady Campaign — have been saying for years.

“The judges followed GOA’s urging and refused to do any balancing of governmental powers and individual liberties — it just ruled the ban was prohibited by the text of the Second Amendment, saying that its language elevates, above all other interests, the ‘right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.'”

GOA welcomes the opportunity that the Court has afforded us to continue our fight for the people’s right to keep and bear arms.

“GOA is preparing to wage constitutional challenges to a range of laws — federal, state and local — that violate the Second Amendment principles endorsed by the Court in today’s majority opinion,” Pratt said.

“The bottom line is that this is the first battle of the war, not the end.”

— GOA —