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20 J. on Firearms & Pub. Pol'y 15 (2008)
Friends of the Second Amendment: A Walk through the Amicus Briefs in D.C. v. Heller

handle is hein.journals/jfpp20 and id is 15 raw text is: Friends of the Second Amendment:
A Walk through the Amicus Briefs in
D.C. v. Heller
By Ilya Shapiro
This Article summarizes each of the dozens of amicus brief filed in Dis-
trict of Columbia v. Heller. It was written before the Heller deision was
announced. Ilya Shapiro is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato
Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Re-
search assistance on this article was provided by Seth Ayarza, Jonathan Blanks,
Samuel Debbeh, and RachelMaxam.
Keywords: Second Amendment, Supreme Court, amicus brief,
District of Columbia, handgun prohibition, self-defense
The Supreme Court's grant of certiorari in the D.C. Gun Ban
Case set off a media frenzy typically reserved for cases involving
such culture-war touchstones as abortion, affirmative action, and
prayer in schools. And indeed, as Barack Obama discovered to his
chagrin when he commented on bitter Pennsylvanians who cling
to their guns, the right to keep and bear arms touches a deep nerve
in the American polity.
Also clinging to particular views of gun rights are the many law-
yers, government officials, and political activists of all stripes who
generated a record 68 amicus curiae briefs. (The Michigan racial pref-
erence cases, Gratq v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) and Grutter v. Bol-
linger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), together generated 104 amicus briefs-64
in Grat. 40 in Grutter-but these cases were consolidated for argu-
ment and neither one garnered more than Heller has alone.) It is strik-
ing to see so many briefs running in opposite directions. There is no
agreement on any of the major issues before the Court, such as what
the Founders had in mind in writing the Second Amendment, the
application of the Amendment to the District of Columbia (and, by
implication, to the states), the social science findings about whether
gun control reduces violence, and on the constitutional meaning-if
any-of Congress's past adoption of gun control laws.
The core issue is the nature of the right that the Second Amend-
ment recognizes: the D.C. city government ties gun possession to
military service; opponents to the D.C. handgun ban label gun pos-

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