“On every question of construction of the Constitution, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” — Thomas Jefferson
A panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the District’s total ban on handgun possession to be unconstitutional with a 2-1 majority. The majority ruling was authored by Judge Laurence Silberman. In the court’s majority opinion, two major points were addressed: The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms and when the Second Amendment speaks of the “right of the people”, it refers to the right of “individuals and not a “collective right” of state governments or the National Guard.
In the lone dissent, Justice Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms relates to those Militia whose continued vitality is required to safeguard the individual States.” She believes the District should be immune from the Second Amendment because it is not a state.