Gun control laws in the District of Columbia effectively ban the use of handguns, or other guns, for self-defense within the home. Heller is a Federal security guard charged with helping to protect the Federal judiciary at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington DC. In that capacity, he is armed with a handgun for his work during the day. Heller wants to keep a handgun within his home in Washington DC for self-defense during the evening. He applied for a permit for such a gun but was denied, as required under DC law since 1976. He sued the city claiming that the DC gun control laws effectively denied his right to keep and bear arms within the home for self-defense under the Second Amendment, and, therefore, were unconstitutional.

The District Court ruled that the Second Amendment did not provide for an individual right to keep and bear arms. But in an historic precedent, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the Amendment did, indeed, provide for such an individual right. The Court consequently struck down the DC gun control statutes as unconstitutional.

We have filed amicus briefs at every stage of this litigation, going all the way back to the District Court. In 2007, we first filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting Heller’s request for a writ of certiorari for a definitive ruling on the issues. The Court did grant certiorari.

On June 26, 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.

Heller v. DC


Parker v. DC


Read the DC Circuit Brief