Individuals have a constitutional right to possess a basic firearm (the line drawn is unclear, but is basically those weapons in general lawful use and does not extend to automatic weapons) and to use that firearm in self-defense.  The government can prohibit possession of firearms by, for example, felons and the mentally ill.  And it can also regulate the sale of firearms, presumably through background checks.  The Court leaves open the constitutionality of a licensing requirement.

D.C.’s laws are invalidated.  The handgun ban is unconstitutional.  The Court treats the District’s trigger lock requirement as categorical and not including a self-defense exception.  It does not address whether the trigger lock rule would be constitutional if it had such an exception, though it suggests it would by referring to the right to have a “lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.”

The opinion leaves open the question whether the Second Amendment is incorporated against the States, but strongly suggests it is.  So today’s ruling likely applies equally to State regulation.

Posted in District of Columbia v. Heller, Uncategorized