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Research Article

The Empire Strikes Back
The District of Columbia’s Post-Heller Firearm Registration System



In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held the District of Columbia’s handgun ban to violate the Second Amendment,1 which provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Prior District law required the registration of long guns (i.e., rifles and shotguns). The District responded to Heller by making registration of all firearms more restrictive than ever before.

Shortly thereafter, and continuing through the present, the District’s firearm registration laws have been subject to an ongoing challenge. The first named plaintiff was the same Dick Heller as in the Supreme Court case; he was joined by Absalom Jordan (a plaintiff in prior challenges)2 and others. The District Court rendered summary judgment in favor of the District,3 and the plaintiffs appealed.


Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., J.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the books, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State”, The Founders' Second Amendment and Securing Civil Rights, the latter two of which were cited in the the U.S. Supreme Court cases of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago as well as his earlier Amici Curiae Brief in Heller on behalf of 55 members of the Senate, the Senate President, and 250 members of the House of Representatives. Dr. Halbrook is also the author of the book, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Independent Institute).


New from Stephen P. Halbrook!
GUN CONTROL IN THE THIRD REICH: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State”
Presents the definitive history of how the Nazi regime used gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power. Previous books on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust fail even to mention the laws restricting firearms ownership, which rendered Jews, political opponents, and other disfavored groups defenseless.







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