Before 2008, the United States Supreme Court had rarely delved into the meaning of the Second Amendment. This changed, however, when Dick Heller, a special police officer in Washington, DC, was prohibited from having a gun in his own home. When Heller sued the District, the case ended up before the Court, where “the history boys” disagreed sharply on the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Is the right to bear arms individual or collective? Prof. Joyce Lee Malcolm of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School discusses the Supreme Court’s foremost decision on the Second Amendment, District of Columbia v. Heller.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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Related Links & Differing Views:

Engage: “Anatomy of a Lawsuit: District of Columbia v. Heller”

The Federalist Society: “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America - Faculty Book Podcast”

Louisiana Law Review: “District of Columbia v. Heller: The Second Amendment Shoots One Down”

Touro Law Review: “The Second Amendment: An Analysis of District of Columbia v. Heller”

Reason: “Twelve Years After Heller”

SCOTUSblog: “Commentary: So, what’s next on guns?”