Summary of the Court Case: In the Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, Dick Heller sued the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) over a law that made it illegal to possess an unregistered firearm although one year registrations could be sought by the Chief of Police that would require owners to keep them locked and unloaded when stored at home. Heller sought one of these licenses and was denied. His case argued that this was a violation of his 2nd Amendment rights to require the licensing of guns and the requirement that those licenses guns be kept unloaded also was unconstitutional. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Heller that those requirements were in fact a violation of the 2nd Amendment right to possess arms. How this case impacted the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment: This case was really significant in interpreting to what extent the 2nd Amendment protects gun ownership. The Court had to consider the first part of the Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Court looked at what the intent of the framers of the Constitution would have been in the historical context of the time and the Court ruled that the term "militia" did not mean a government sponsored military force. Instead the Court ruled that the "plain meaning" should drive the interpretation: that the 2nd Amendment should guarantee the individual right to protect oneself with a firearm - whether that be protection from another individual or the government. The justices who disagreed with the ruling argued that none of our rights are without limits and that the mere mentioning of keeping a militia for the purposes of protecting a State, meant that it does not prevent the lawmakers from curtailing gun ownership rights in any other context other than keeping a militia. This fundamentally changed the way the Amendment was interpreted from being about a collective right as a people who make up a State to protect themselves by owning weapons now to an individual right to protect oneself from anyone, and most notably in your home. As a result, according to Oyez's summary of the case and its impact, "banning handguns, an entire class of arms that is commonly used for protection purposes, and prohibiting firearms from being kept functional in the home, the area traditionally in need of protection, violates the Second Amendment"
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