D.C. Gun Law Is Unconstitutional No Matter How You Look at It


A couple of preliminary observations about today's ruling in D.C. v. Heller:

1. The Court does not resolve the issue of what level of scrutiny should be applied to purported violations of the Second Amendment, because it concludes that D.C.'s firearm restrictions, which effectively preclude keeping a gun in the home for self-defense, are so extreme that they would be unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny.

2. The Court explicitly says that laws prohibiting concealed carry, banning gun possession by "felons and the mentally ill," barring firearms from "sensitive places" such as schools and government buildings, and regulating the sale of firearms are consistent with the Second Amendment. It also suggests that banning "unusual and dangerous weapons," as opposed to weapons in common use for lawful purposes, is permissible. Whether that means, say, bazookas or guns arbitrarily designated as "assault weapons" is one of many details that will have to be worked out by the courts.