Heller Decision Has Zero Effect

… Except that it cost a lot of money.

High court’s Second Amendment ruling has had little impact so far

WASHINGTON — About nine months ago, the Supreme Court breathed new life into the Second Amendment, ruling for the first time that it protects an individual’s right to own guns.

Since then, lower federal courts have decided more than 80 cases interpreting the decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, and it is now possible to make a preliminary assessment of its impact.

So far, Heller is firing blanks.

The courts have upheld federal laws banning gun ownership by people convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors, by illegal immigrants and by drug addicts. They have upheld laws banning machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. They have upheld laws making it illegal to carry guns near schools or in post offices. And they have upheld laws concerning concealed and unregistered weapons.

Winkler summarized the impact of Heller in an article to be published in The UCLA Law Review in June. “So far,” he wrote, “the only real change from Heller is that gun owners have to pay higher legal fees to find out that they lose.”

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  1. #1 by marshall on March 18, 2009 - 7:35 pm

    Let the guns thing go. Sheesh! Civil liberties like the right to bear arms does not know a political party.

  2. #2 by jdberger on March 18, 2009 - 10:57 pm

    Zero effect –

    with the exception that DC changed their laws to allow citizens to possess handguns…
    with the exception that Morton Grove rescinded their handgun ban
    with the exception of the other Chicago suburbs that rescinded their gun bans
    with the exception of the SF Housing Authority which rescinded its gun ban

    Read the story a little closer, Cliff. It’s said that CRIMINALS who’ve asserted a Second Amendment right were denied.

    Well, duh.

    It was only loons like you that asserted a pro-gun Heller decision would give dope dealers the right to pack AKs on the street corner.

  3. #3 by Bob S. on March 19, 2009 - 5:33 am

    Or how about this court case (h/t to The Volokh Conspiracy)

    That’s U.S. v. Arzberger. The gun control law is the part of 18 U.S.C. § 3142(c)(1)(B) that requires that when someone is charged with possessing child pornography (among other crimes) and is freed on bail, he be ordered not to possess any firearm. Here’s the discussion by Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV (of the Southern District of New York) (some paragraph breaks added):

    A year ago, I might well have taken for granted the authority of Congress to require that a person charged with a crime be prohibited from possessing a firearm as a condition of pretrial release…. [But, given D.C. v. Heller, t]o the extent … that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess a firearm unrelated to any military purpose, it also establishes a protectible liberty interest [for Due Process Clause purposes]. And, although the Supreme Court has indicated that this privilege may be withdrawn from some groups of persons such as convicted felons, there is no basis for categorically depriving persons who are merely accused of certain crimes of the right to legal possession of a firearm.

    Of course a more correct phrasing would be that “Heller hasn’t had a major impact, YET.

  4. #4 by James Farmer on March 19, 2009 - 8:01 am

    Bob:

    You are confusing due process with any effect brought about by Heller.

  5. #5 by Bob S. on March 19, 2009 - 8:50 am

    James,

    Did you read the decision from the judge, due process was part of it.

    But clearly Heller was also a strong part, let me quote the part since some people have reading difficulties.

    A year ago, I might well have taken for granted the authority of Congress to require that a person charged with a crime be prohibited from possessing a firearm as a condition of pretrial release…. [But, given D.C. v. Heller, ]to the extent … that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess a firearm unrelated to any military purpose,

    So, a year ago — before HELLER the Judge would have taken for granted the authority to require due process be violated….but AFTER HELLER the judge clearly recognized that

    it also establishes a protectible liberty interest [for Due Process Clause purposes].

    Note that the HELLER decision is being used to JUSTIFY the Due Process Clause purpose.

  6. #6 by Cliff Lyon on March 19, 2009 - 9:07 am

    Bob S,

    I think you are missing the point. The Heller decision was so narrow that it has not had an impact on other cases related to hund gun control laws.

    Note: your comment above is about dues process. The 2nd amendment mention is incidental (if not added).

  7. #7 by Bob S. on March 19, 2009 - 9:17 am

    Cliff,

    You are clearly missing the point that JD and I are making.

    JD pointed out several cities that decided to remove their ban rather then go to court. Heller is having an impact there.

    You are right, Heller was a narrowly crafted decision. But the decision included many avenues to explore and there will be court cases that are based on Heller.

    Those cases haven’t worked their way though the system yet. For example, the Chicago laws case is still making its way through the appeals process.

    Operative word – YET

  8. #8 by Cliff on March 19, 2009 - 9:48 am

    Bob S,

    I only looked up one to make my point. Morton Grove was a political/policy decision, not a legal outcome.

    Morton Grove’s landmark handgun ban, imposed 27 years ago, died quietly Monday night, as the suburb’s Village Board bowed to a new legal reality and repealed the ordinance.

    The board’s 5-1 vote came in response to last month’s ruling by a divided U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a similar ban. The high court ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects a person’s right to own a firearm for self-defense.

    Fighting in court to try to keep the law would cost money the village does not have, officials said.

    “I appreciate the courage the board [showed] in 1981 in a noble experiment,” Trustee Dan Staackmann said. “[But] we don’t have the resources to fight this all the way.”

    Trustee Georgianne Brunner cast the lone vote against the repeal. “We may be acting a little bit in haste,” she said. “I’m just grateful for what they did in 1981, and I wish we could just take a step back and wait it out.”

    Since there was no pending legal challenge to Morton Grove, there was no reason to act except for political concerns.

    Of course Heller was a bad case and a bad decision. SCOTUS never should have heard it.

    But that was a different time. The world has changed now and the gun lobby’s screeching the same old tired hyperbolic interpretation of the second part of one sentence in our Constitution, will soon be a dusty memory associated with our barbaric past.

    The world has changed forever now. America has lost her preeminence forever and the winners and losers will be determined by their ability to find new ways to deal with violence, crime, and crazed gun nuts less than 1% of whom will ever use their hand guns to protect diddley poop.

    The question is, what will America look like in 20 years? Will we be a dark scary country where 2 sides are hunkered down with guns, in a society paralyzed by suspicion? Will we be a country in which authority is measured by barrels and bullets?

    Or will we be a country in which merit thrives and drives economic prosperity and opportunity reaches down to the bottom of society and lifts the ‘deserving’ whose courage and bravery replace fear, distrust and violence?

    I prefer the latter. Perhaps I am deluded. But I do know one thing for sure. The world and our neighborhoods will never be OK simply because we allow anyone and everyone to carry loaded, concealed weapons.

  9. #9 by Bob S. on March 19, 2009 - 10:20 am

    Cliff,

    You certainly are reaching to try to deny the obvious.

    From your very own quote

    as the suburb’s Village Board bowed to a new legal reality and repealed the ordinance.

    Was there a legal challenge, No. They repealed the ban, in light of the “new legal reality” — HELLER, instead of fighting a loosing battle in court. That is a policy decision but it was reached in light of Heller, they didn’t repeal it until after the Heller Decision.

    In your quote they acknowledge this

    The board’s 5-1 vote came in response to last month’s ruling by a divided U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a similar ban. The high court ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects a person’s right to own a firearm for self-defense

    Score one for the Heller Decision.

    Love how you try to correlate firearm ownership with a lack of merit and economic prosperity….what a childish argument Cliff.

    Will we be a country in which authority is measures by barrels and bullets?

    Take away the right of the law abiding citizens to own firearms and that is exactly what we will have….is that what you are working toward?
    A land of lawlessness, a land where thugs who don’t obey the laws are free to take what they want because you’ve disarmed everyone else?

    The world and our neighborhoods will never be OK simply because we allow anyone to carry loaded, concealed weapons.

    Anyone? Really Cliff, how little respect you show for your fellow citizens. How little trust you place in your fellow Americans. Guess you can’t help but show your elitism and disdain for the average person.

  10. #10 by jdberger on March 19, 2009 - 10:22 am

    Of course Morton Grove was a policy decision. So were the rest of my examples.

    Therein lies the impact of Heller.

    And the “effect” is that people in the suburbs of Chicago are more free than they were before Heller.

  11. #11 by James Farmer on March 19, 2009 - 3:09 pm

    I have to agree with Cliff on this one. So a couple of podunk towns with insubstantial resources decide to cave to Heller out of fear of being sued. The fact that only a couple of towns has done this, while the majority of gun laws remain on the books – even while being challenged – leads me to believe that Heller has had minimal impact.

  12. #12 by jdberger on March 19, 2009 - 4:11 pm

    San Francisco is a podunk town?

  13. #13 by Bob S. on March 19, 2009 - 6:31 pm

    James,

    Sorry to break this to you but the vast majority of gun laws haven’t being challenged.

    A very few convicted criminals have challenged their arrests on gun related charges, a couple of towns, like that Podunk town of Chicago are having their bans work their way through the appeals process.

    Then there is the changes in San Francisco that JD mentioned.

    Heller has had minimal impact so far, after all the decision is less then a year old but that doesn’t mean that it will continue to have minimal impact.

    Many states have had legislation introduced to expand the right to keep and bear arms, such as the proposal to allow Open Carry in Texas. That is currently illegal but thanks to the shift in momentum and attitude, in part produced by Heller, it stands a decent chance of being passed.

    I really seems that those who don’t believe in the right to keep and bear arms is a minority

    Seventy-five percent (75%) of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of an average citizen to own a gun, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

    Just 14% say gun ownership is not a constitutional right. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

    Not all the impact of Heller will be limited to court cases…..

  14. #14 by jdberger on March 19, 2009 - 9:34 pm

    James, just for fun, what’s the average time span of one of your patent infringement matters? One year? More?

    And then how long to wind its way through the appeals process?

    It’s a little premature to declare Heller having minimal impact.

    As a comparison – what’s been the impact of Kelo? I mean, despite a few podunk towns enacting ordinances to counteract it….? And how long has it been since Kelo was decided?

  15. #15 by jdberger on March 20, 2009 - 11:10 pm

    James?

    How about you, Cliff?

    What’s been the impact of Kelo?

  16. #16 by James Farmer on March 21, 2009 - 12:01 am

    jd:

    You are not comparing Kelo to Heller … are you?

  17. #17 by jdberger on March 21, 2009 - 12:43 am

    It’s a TRAP!

    Yes, James. I am.

    what’s been the impact of Kelo? I mean, despite a few podunk towns enacting ordinances to counteract it….? And how long has it been since Kelo was decided?

    I’m not comparing them on merit – only on impact since they were decided.

    (Did you explain all the big words to Cliff or was he out front in his bathrobe again?)

  18. #18 by James Farmer on March 21, 2009 - 8:04 am

    jd:

    Most people have no idea what Kelo stands for or even care. Apples and oranges.

  19. #19 by Bob S. on March 21, 2009 - 10:39 am

    Love the logic behind the anti-gun mentality.

    Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Sorry but we are comparing apples to apples. Whether it is the 1st amendment right to free speech, the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms or the 5th amendment taking without just compensation and due process of law.

    It is about our rights.

  20. #20 by jdberger on March 21, 2009 - 11:52 am

    C’mon, James. That was a horrible dodge.

    what’s been the impact of Kelo? I mean, despite a few podunk towns enacting ordinances to counteract it….? And how long has it been since Kelo was decided?

  21. #21 by jdberger on April 20, 2009 - 1:11 pm

    Somehow I think that this thread needs an update.

    No?

  22. #22 by Weer'd Beard on April 21, 2009 - 8:47 am

    It desperately needs to be updated, but right now I think Cliffy is seeking refuge in the bottom of a bottle.

    It’s one thing having his ass royally kicked by us who he can always declare as “Nobodies”, it’s another to be crushed by a US Superior Court.

  23. #23 by jdberger on April 21, 2009 - 10:16 am

    Circuit Court, Weer’d.

    I had the opportunity to chat with one of the lawyers involved, yesterday. He was pretty happy. He’s ready to move on the the next step…

    This is the great civil rights movement of the century. Aren’t you glad you are here?!

  24. #24 by Weer'd Beard on April 21, 2009 - 3:19 pm

    I could use as much incorporation as we can get. Remember I hail from Massachusetts!

    We did have a negligent cop who left his unloaded service pistol lying around. He’s lost his job and faced a bunch of charges because his young son pointed the gun at a neighbor and pulled the trigger. Thankfully the gun was unloaded. The trooper deserves what he got, and he’ll get no love from me.

    Still The judge threw out the “Safe Storage” charges and cited the Heller Case.

    It’s moving:
    http://www.goal.org/templates/bolduccase.htm

(will not be published)


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