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50 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1095 (2010)
After Heller: What Now for the Second Amendment

handle is hein.journals/saclr50 and id is 1119 raw text is: AFTER HELLER: WHAT NOW FOR THE SECOND
Jeffrey M. Shaman*
In District of Columbia v. Heller, decided in 2008, the
Supreme Court of the United States ruled by a five-to-four
vote that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects
an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with
service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally
lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.'
Accordingly, the Court struck down a District of Columbia
law that banned the possession of handguns and required
lawfully owned firearms to be kept unloaded and dissembled
or bound by a trigger lock, unless they were located in a place
of business or used for lawful recreational activities.'
The Heller decision was a severe departure from
precedent. Sixty-nine years prior to Heller, the Court ruled
in United States v. Miller that the Second Amendment did not
protect an individual right to bear arms for purely private,
civilian purposes.3 The Court reaffirmed Miller4 in 1980, and
over the years numerous state and federal courts have relied
*Vincent de Paul Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law. The
author is grateful to Andrew Daar for the excellent research assistance he
provided for this article.
1. District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008). The vote reflected
the Court's usual conservative-liberal split, with Justice Kennedy joining the
conservative side on this occasion. See id. at 2783. In addition to Justice
Kennedy, Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Thomas and Alito joined
Justice Scalia's opinion. Id. Justice Stevens entered a dissenting opinion that
was joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Id. Justices Stevens,
Souter, and Ginsburg joined Justice Breyer in his dissenting opinion. Id.
2. Id.
3. United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).
4. Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55, 65 n.8 (1980).


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