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Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton
Reaction to Heller Ruling
June 26, 2008




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For Immediate Release
June 26, 2008
Contact: Tamainia D. Davis
(202) 225-8050, (202) 225-8143-cell
Web Site: http://www.norton.house.gov

Norton Says Very Strict Handgun Laws Permitted by Today’s Supreme Court Decision

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today issued the following statement concerning the 5-4 decision of the U. S. Supreme Court overturning the District’s absolute ban on handguns.

Fortunately, the expected overturn of the District’s absolute gun ban leaves considerable room for new, strict hand gun bans and other gun restrictions here.  Despite the use of guns far more often for domestic violence and suicides than for self defense in the home, the Court rests its major holding that hand guns without trigger locks are permitted in the home, on the right to self defense at home.  However, because, as the court says, there never was a “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose,” the District may continue to regulate handguns and other weapons in the home and elsewhere through licensing requirements.  Moreover, the Second Amendment restriction applies only to weapons “in common use at the time…that were ‘dangerous and unusual’.”  Thus, the District may continue to ban and confiscate automatic and semiautomatic guns from all locations, including homes.

The decision’s most serious effect is the increase in handguns in the home, where guns typically do the greatest damage in this country that the ruling will inspire.  Today’s decision is likely to encourage law abiding people to buy guns, with the likelihood that the ruling will produce an increase in accidents and gun violence among family members and even neighbors, as some in the rush of anger, fetch the guns to escalate or settle a dispute.

Fortunately, most handgun laws in the U.S. will not be affected by today’s decision.  Today’s ruling turned on the absolute nature of the District ban and largely has the effect of encouraging the District to bring its laws into line with many others in this country, and to go even further than many.

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