Excerpts From Friend-of-Court Briefs

The D.C. gun case exposes strange bedfellows and internal rifts in the administration.

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• Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (.pdf):

"Throughout history, the disarmament of populations has all too frequently resulted in genocide and mass oppression. History is replete with this familiar pattern. To limit the right to keep and bear arms to a state regulated militia is to disregard what the Framers understood—that individual possession of arms is essential to preventing usurpation by the state. "In many cases, firearm confiscation followed only after the groundwork was laid by purportedly 'reasonable' regulation and registration of firearms. History illustrates just how readily the standardless 'reasonable' regulation of firearms invites large scale abuse by the state and ultimately paves the way for wholesale confiscation of arms and the mass slaughter of the disarmed (much like the massive censorship that would arise under a rule permitting 'reasonable' regulation of speech and press)."

• National Rifle Association (.pdf):

"This outcome would cause grave harm not only to the tens of millions of law-abiding Americans who keep and bear arms for self-defense and other lawful, private purposes, but to the entire nation, which in times of gravest peril has always relied upon the body of ordinary men and women, and their everyday familiarity with arms, for its security. "This individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right; the Second Amendment on its face describes it as essential to a 'free State'—a democratic state free from government tyranny. As with the fundamental democratic rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, laws burdening Second Amendment rights should be subjected to strict scrutiny and struck down in their entirety when overly broad. Petitioners and their supporting amici attempt to conjure fears of legal bedlam should courts examine firearms laws under strict scrutiny, yet they present no real argument that long-standing laws regulating the ownership and use of firearms, such as laws barring ownership by convicted felons or the insane, would fail to pass muster under that test.

"While, to be sure, the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny, the Framers did not consider the right limited to that purpose. The Framers were well aware that in late-18th century America a significant segment of the population depended upon private ownership of arms to provide food for their families and to defend themselves and their families from attack. Americans' personal right to possess such firearms for hunting or self-defense was part of the essence of the Framers' view of themselves as a free and democratic people. Had Americans in 1787 been told that the federal government could ban the frontiersman in his log cabin, or the city merchant living above his store, from keeping firearms to provide for and protect himself and his family, it is hard to imagine that the Constitution would have been ratified."

• Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Inc. (.pdf):

"Medical professionals have no more qualifications or basis to opine about the Second Amendment than anyone else. The attempt to shroud political gun control arguments in the white coat of physicians and public health officials is utterly baseless, and constitutional law should not be influenced by it." • 126 female state legislators and academics (.pdf):

"This case provides the Court an opportunity to advance the ability of women to free themselves from being subject to another's ill will and to counter the commonly-held prejudice that women are 'easier targets' simply because of their gender characteristics. Violence against women in the United States is endemic, often deadly, and most frequently committed by men superior in physical strength to their female victims. "The District's current prohibition against handguns and immediately serviceable firearms in the home effectively eliminates a woman's ability to defend her very life and those of her children against violent attack. Women are simply less likely to be able to thwart violence using means currently permitted under D.C. law. Women are generally less physically strong, making it less likely that most physical confrontations will end favorably for women."