311 F.Supp.2d 103 (D.D.C. 2004), Civ. A. 03-0213, Parker v. District of Columbia

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 03-0213
Citation:311 F.Supp.2d 103
Party Name:Parker v. District of Columbia
Case Date:March 31, 2004
Court:United States District Courts, District of Columbia

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311 F.Supp.2d 103 (D.D.C. 2004)

Shelly PARKER, et al., Plaintiffs,


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.

No. CIV.A.03-0213 EGS.

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

March 31, 2004.

Alan Gura, Alan Gura PLLC, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs.

Daniel Albert Rezneck, Jonathan F. Potter, Office of Corporation Counsel, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

Eric Mogilnicki, Jr., Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, David M. Gossett, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, Washington, DC, for Amicus.


SULLIVAN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiffs in this case are six residents of the District of Columbia who wish to possess a handgun or an assembled long gun in their homes for self-defense but do not do so because they "fear arrest, criminal prosecution, and fine." Compl. at ¶ 1, 3, 5, and 6. Plaintiff Heller has applied for a permit to possess a handgun in his home and has been rejected. Compl. at ¶ 2. The other five plaintiffs have not applied for a permit. None of the plaintiffs have asserted membership in the District of Columbia Militia.

Plaintiffs argue that D.C.Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) 1, barring registration of

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handguns, D.C.Code § 7-2507.02 2, barring the possession of firearms within the home or possessed land, and D.C.Code§§ 22-4504 3 and 4515, forbidding the carrying of firearms within one's home or possessed land without a license, ("D.C. gun control laws") should be permanently enjoined because these laws violate the Second Amendment, which establishes a fundamental individual right to bear arms. Plaintiffs are asking this Court to grant Summary Judgment in their favor.

Defendants in this case are the District of Columbia and Anthony Williams, Mayor of the District of Columbia. Defendants argue that the Second Amendment does not provide an individual right to bear arms. Defendants ask the Court to grant their Motion to Dismiss.

II. Legal Standard

When considering a Motion to Dismiss, the Court construes the facts in the complaint as true and construes all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, 534 U.S. 506, 508, 122 S.Ct. 992, 152 L.Ed.2d 1 (2002). A Motion to Dismiss is granted and the complaint dismissed only if no relief could be granted on those facts. See Sparrow v. United Air Lines Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1114 (D.C.Cir.2000).

In reviewing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court must first determine if there are genuine issues of material fact. Shields v. Eli Lilly & Co., 895 F.2d 1463, 1465 (D.C.Cir.1990) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). Summary judgment should be granted only if the moving party has shown that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

III. Legal Analysis

A. Supreme Court Analysis of the Second Amendment Right

Plaintiffs move for summary judgment in this case on the grounds that the D.C. gun control laws are unconstitutional because they violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint because plaintiffs have not made any showing that their possession or use of a firearm has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated Militia.

The Second Amendment provides:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

U.S. C ONST. amend. II. The U.S. Supreme Court has not considered a direct Second Amendment challenge since its 1939 decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S.Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206 (1939). In Miller, the district court granted the defendant's Motion to Dismiss his indictment under the National Firearms Act for unlawfully transporting in interstate commerce an unregistered double barrel 12-gauge shotgun with a barrel of less than 18 inches, on the grounds that the Act was "in contravention of the Second Amendment

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to the Constitution." United States v. Miller, 26 F.Supp. 1002, 1003 (1939).

The U.S. Supreme Court, on appeal of the dismissal, held that

In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.

Id. at 178, 59 S.Ct. 816.

The Court noted that, as originally adopted, the U.S. Constitution reserved to the states "the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." Id. (citing U.S. C ONST. art. 1 § 8). Accordingly, the Court reasoned that it was "[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." Id. at 178, 59 S.Ct. 816.

The Court went on to explain the nature and purpose of the Militia in the time when the Second Amendment was enacted. "The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia--civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion." Id. at 179, 59 S.Ct. 816. When the Militia was called into service, these men were expected to appear bearing arms, which they supplied themselves. Id.

Although the Supreme Court decided Miller sixty-five years ago, there has recently been some debate concerning whether Miller should be construed as interpreting the Second Amendment to guarantee either: (1) a collective right of the states to arm the Militia; or (2) a limited individual right to bear arms but only as a member of a state Militia; or (3) an individual right to bear arms for non-Militia use.

This Court reads Miller,...

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