Cato Institute Amicus Brief for DC v. Heller

The language of the Constitution cannot be interpreted safely except by reference to the common law and to British institutions as they were when the instrument was framed and adopted. But Petitioners make none, citing neither the English Bill of Rights, nor any English case, nor Blackstone, nor any other English authority—nor even the three leading early commentators on the Constitution, all of whom recognized the Second Amendment’s English foundation. The English right was a right of individuals, not conditioned on militia service. That core right is what the District of Columbia tramples. It bans keeping a handgun in one’s home (including use there in self-defense) and keeping any functional firearm in one’s home.

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