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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

McDonnell to Join Multi-State Amicus Brief in Support of Individual Right to Bear Arms

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced today that Virginia will join an amicus brief supporting the individual rights interpretation of the right to bear arms confirmed in the Second Amendment. The amicus will be filed in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which arises from a challenge to the District of Columbia’s prohibition of personal ownership of handguns, and additional restrictions on personal ownership of shotguns and rifles. The case will provide the most significant review of the original intent and interpretation of the Second Amendment in almost 70 years.

At issue is a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which ruled that the gun policies of Washington D.C. violated the Second Amendment. The court found that the right to bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the framers.

Speaking about his decision to join an amicus brief supporting the individual right to bear arms, Attorney General McDonnell noted, “The right to bear arms secured in the Bill of Rights is a right “of the people.” We believe that our founders declared, in the Second Amendment, that American citizens have the personal right to bear arms as individuals.”

McDonnell continued noting, “Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas will file the lead brief with the Supreme Court in defense of this position. I have informed him that Virginia will join the multi-state amicus brief in support. The Heller case will likely be the most important Second Amendment case in American history. The result will have significant implications on individual liberty and the power of government. For this reason it is imperative that Virginia’s position on the fundamental individual right to bear arms is clearly articulated.”

The amicus brief is currently being drafted. Heller v. District of Columbia will most likely be heard by the United States Supreme Court in March 2008, with a decision anticipated in June.

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