March 9, 2007 11:04AM

Landmark Second Amendment Ruling Today

Today, a federal appeals court ruled that the District of Columbia’s draconian gun control law is unconstitutional. This is a very big deal. The Supreme Court is very likely to review this case, which means we’re about a year away from a definitive ruling from the high court on the meaning of the Second Amendment–is it just about militias or does the Constitution guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms? 

I doubt there will be much of an immediate practical impact on the ordinary lives of people. Attorneys for the government, for example, will probably get a “stay” of this ruling pending its appeal to the Supreme Court. The significance is that a debate that has been raging in academic and, to some extent, in legislative arenas, is now moving to our highest courts. The impact on the lives of ordinary folks will likely follow slowly over the next few years–first in the District of Columbia and then in other jurisdictions.

Prior coverage of this controversy here. For related Cato work, go here.

Update: Read the Cato Institute press release on the decision