Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Far Does the Second Amendment Extend Beyond the Home?

In 2008, the United States Supreme Court first recognized a personal right to possess a handgun for self-defense, especially in the home. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). Since that time, lower courts and local governments have been left to grapple with the scope of this new Second Amendment right. While local regulations are certainly invalid when they restrict handgun possession in the home for self defense purposes, courts are beginning to consider whether the Second Amendment right applies outside the home, which will have great consequences for all forms of local gun regulation, including zoning restrictions on gun shops, firing ranges and other gun-related land uses.
Recently, two Federal District Courts considered whether the Second Amendment right applies outside the home, and came down on different sides of the question. In Woollard v. Sheridan, 2012 WL 695674, No. L–10–2068 (D. Md. Mar. 2, 2012), a Federal District Court granted summary judgment to an organization arguing that the Second Amendment would not allow Maryland to require an applicant to demonstrate a “good and substantial reason” for a permit to carry a handgun outside the home. In doing so, the Court concluded that the right to bear arms is not limited to the confines of a person’s residence because the protected purpose of self defense must take place wherever that person happens to be.  In response, Maryland was unable to demonstrate that the regulation was reasonably adapted to a substantial government interest, and the permit requirement was found unconstitutional.
However, in Moore v. Madigan, 2012 WL 344760, No. 11–cv–03134 (C.D. Ill. Feb. 3, 2012), a Federal District Court upheld the constitutionality of Illinois’ “Unlawful Use of Weapon” statutes, reasoning that the core Second Amendment right only exists inside the home. These statutes generally prohibit the carrying of firearms in public, with limited exceptions for unloaded and cased weapons. The Court noted the Supreme Court’s narrow holding in recognizing the Second Amendment, its emphasis on the application of the right to the home, and the “implicit approval” of long-recognized concealed weapons bans.
While the full scope of the core Second Amendment right might be disputed by courts, the right must include the right to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense purposes. As a result, communities should tread carefully in the enforcement or adoption of local regulations that interfere with this core right. For regulations affecting peripheral aspects of this right, local officials should establish that its local regulation reasonably furthers the community’s public safety, crime abatement or other substantial goals.
Post Authored by Daniel J. Bolin, Ancel Glink

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.