My article on the possible future impact of District of Columbia v. Heller came out in the Legal Times today. It can be found here (free registration unfortunately required). [UPDATE: The article can be accessed here without registration].
Here's a brief excerpt:
The Supreme Court may have endorsed an individual right under the Second Amendment to bear arms. But the District of Columbia certainly isn't leaping to implement that right.
After its defeat in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the D.C. Council responded by adopting new gun-control regulations that are only marginally less restrictive than the ones invalidated in Heller. Undoubtedly, the new regulations—and similar ones in other jurisdictions—will be challenged in court. It is the outcome of these future cases that will determine whether Heller has any truly significant impact.
History shows that mere judicial recognition of a right doesn't guarantee that the right will get meaningful protection. It is especially unlikely if the right is supported by jurists on only one side of the political spectrum. Judicially recognized rights also can get short shrift if the Supreme Court defines their scope narrowly.
To the delight of some and the distress of others, both these factors may limit the impact of the newly recognized individual right to bear arms.
The article builds on points I made in this series of posts. For another article outlining the highly restrictive nature of the new post-Heller DC gun regulations, see this piece by Jacob Sullum.
Related Posts (on one page):
- My Legal Times article on Heller and the Enforcement of Rights by the Courts:
- Reason Symposium on Heller:
- Lessons for Gun Rights Supporters from the Property Rights Experience, Part II - A Narrowly Defined Right May Not be Much Better than No Right at All:
- Lessons For Gun Rights Supporters From the Property Rights Experience I - The Importance of Ideological Divisions on the Court: