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PARKER v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

March 31, 2004.

SHELLY PARKER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EMMET SULLIVAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. Introduction

Plaintiffs in this case are six residents of the District of Columbia who wish to possess a handgun or an assembled long gun in their homes for self-defense but do not do so because they "fear arrest, criminal prosecution, and fine." Compl. at 5 1, 3, 5, and 6. Plaintiff Heller has applied for a permit to possess a handgun in his home and has been rejected. Compl. at ¶ 2. The other five plaintiffs have not applied for a permit. None of the plaintiffs have asserted membership in the District of Columbia Militia.

  Plaintiffs argue that D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4)*fn1, barring registration of handguns, D.C. Code § 7-2507.02*fn2, barring the Page 2 possession of firearms within the home or possessed land, and D.C. Code §§ 22-4504*fn3 and 4515, forbidding the carrying of firearms within one's home or possessed land without a license, ("D.C. gun control laws") should be permanently enjoined because these laws violate the Second Amendment, which establishes a fundamental individual right to bear arms. Plaintiffs are asking this Court to grant Summary Judgment in their favor.

  Defendants in this case are the District of Columbia and Anthony Williams, Mayor of the District of Columbia. Defendants argue that the Second Amendment does not provide an individual right to bear arms. Defendants ask the Court to grant their Motion to Dismiss.

  II. Legal Standard

  When considering a Motion to Dismiss, the Court construes the facts in the complaint as true and construes all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, 534 U.S. 506, 508 (2002). A Motion to Dismiss is granted and the complaint dismissed only if no relief could be granted on those facts. See Sparrow v. United Air Lines Page 3 Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1114 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

  In reviewing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court must first determine if there are genuine issues of material fact. Shields v. Eli Lilly & Co., 895 F.2d 1463, 1465 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). Summary judgment should be granted only if the moving party has shown that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).

  III. Legal Analysis

  A. Supreme Court Analysis of the Second Amendment Right

  Plaintiffs move for summary judgment in this case on the grounds that the D.C. gun control laws are unconstitutional because they violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint because plaintiffs have not made any showing that their possession or use of a firearm has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated Militia.

  The Second Amendment provides:
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.
U.S. CONST, amend. II. The U.S. Supreme Court has not considered a direct Second Amendment challenge since its 1939 decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). In Miller, the district Page 4 court granted the defendant's Motion to Dismiss his indictment under the National Firearms Act for unlawfully transporting in interstate commerce an unregistered double barrel 12-gauge shotgun with a barrel of less than 18 inches, on the grounds that the Act was "in contravention of the Second Amendment to the Constitution." United States v. Miller, 26 F. Supp. 1002, 1003 (1939).
  The U.S. Supreme Court, on appeal of the dismissal, held that
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a `shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.
Id. at 178.

  The Court noted that, as originally adopted, the U.S. Constitution reserved to the states "the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." Id. (citing U.S. CONST. art. 1 § 8). Accordingly, the Court reasoned that it was "[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of ...


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