WASHINGTON, DC — Insisting that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right of all Americans guaranteed by the Second Amendment and applies equally to the states and the federal government under the Fourteenth Amendment, The Rutherford Institute has filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald v. City of Chicago. At issue in the case is whether the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court affirmed in 2008 in Heller v. District of Columbia as protecting individuals from federal prohibitions on the right to keep and bear arms also protects individuals from similar restrictions by state and local lawmakers.
A copy of The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief is available here.
“The Second Amendment was appended to the Constitution to provide citizens with the means to protect themselves, and was meant to restrain overbearing legislatures at all levels of government bent upon interfering with the basic right to keep and bear arms,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “In keeping with this country’s historical roots and traditions, the Supreme Court should not permit a state government to ride roughshod over this bedrock principle of liberty–a right which pre-dates the establishment of United States.”
In its 2008 ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court expressly extended the application of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms to the federal government, holding that citizens of the District of Columbia had the inherent right, as individuals, to keep and bear arms in their homes. In the case currently before the high court, McDonald v. City of Chicago, the City of Chicago maintains that it has the power to forbid citizens of Chicago from possessing handguns in their homes. However, as The Rutherford Institute points out in its brief, under the City’s argument, “virtually nothing prevents states and localities from barring citizens from possessing handguns in their homes, even for purposes of self-defense and irrespective of the serious crime problems encountered by residents of that city and other cities and states throughout the nation.” Calling the Court’s ruling in Heller “a triumph of individual liberty over encroachment by government of any sort,” the brief goes on to state that “although it is clear that militias as the authors of the Second Amendment knew them do not exist today, the need for self-defense and defense of the home has not disappeared.”