Dick Anthony Heller, the Washington resident who brought the case now before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, filed his respondent’s brief in the matter yesterday.
In his written argument, he aimed to throw water all over the argument by the petitioner – and others filing amicus briefs in the case – that the Framers meant only to protect the right of militia members to bear arms, and that is proven by the comma in language of the Second Amendment.
“No doubts or ambiguities arise from the words ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,'” Heller’s brief states. “The words cannot be rendered meaningless by resort to their preamble. Any preamble-based interpretive rationale demanding an advanced degree in linguistics for its explication is especially suspect in this context.”
That last sentence is seemingly a swipe at the group of linguistics professors who filed an amicus brief asserting that the punctuation in the Second Amendment’s language shows that keeping a well-armed militia was not merely one purpose for the Amendment, it was the only purpose for the Amendment. Therefore, the professors argued, banning the possession of handguns for non-militia use is perfectly constitutional and the gun ban should be upheld. Their brief can be found here.
Heller’s brief can be found here.