District of Columbia v. Heller (Decided June 26, 2008)

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The latest word from the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment was passed in 1791. The drafters worded it differently than someone might have worded it today, and the courts are responsible for interpreting it over time. The Supreme Court - the highest court - gets the last say.

This case is the Supreme Court's latest decision telling us what the Second Amendment means today.

The case

DC v Heller

In this case, the District of Columbia had passed two gun control laws. D.C. restricted handgun ownership to one year licenses, and the District also required all guns in the home be kept unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock. 

Dick Heller, a D.C. special police officer, took issue. Heller had a license to operate a handgun while on duty, but he wanted one for personal protection. He applied for a one-year license to have a handgun and was denied. Furthermore, Heller argued, that for any other guns he owns, he should be able to keep them in ready-position in the house. Heller said the Second Amendment gives him those rights, and D.C.'s laws were interfering.

The decision

The conservative wing won the majority of the Court. Heller was right. D.C. was infringing on his Second Amendment rights.

Our infographic breaks down the opposing views.

Here is the opinion in full.