Miller vs. Heller
No, not the latest UFC heavyweight bout.
But, an exploration of an interesting twist in the law...
In January 1939, the US District Court for the Western District of Arkansas heard argument in US vs. Miller concerning a sawed-off shotgun found in the defendant's truck when a raid for a still failed to find anything. Defense argued that Section 11 of the National Firearms Act violated the Second Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Heartsill Ragon agreed.
The USAG appealed to the supreme Court and in March 1939 the Court heard the case. They reversed the lower court's decision saying that there was no evidence presented that a sawed-off shotgun had any value as a militia weapon and so did not fall under the protections of the Second Amendment. Essentially saying only military-style weapons are protected.
Now, fast forward almost 65 years to Feb of 2003.
A lawsuit is brought against the District of Columbia contesting the District's draconian gun laws. The District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit.
The case was appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals and they reversed the decision saying the Second Amendment protected an individual right.
Petition was made to advance the case to the supreme Court and they agreed in November of '07 (looks like things went a lot faster seven decades ago).
In June of '08, the Court decided and reversed the Circuit Court's finding. That the "District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."
The supreme Court also decided, "The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity."
So, to give the Cliff's Notes version, Miller says the Second Amendment protects military-style weapons and, so, a sawed-off shotgun is not a protected firearm.
But, now we have Heller that has decided that the Second Amendment protects only non-military use firearms (actually, a silly decision - what non-military firearm is of any use to a militia?).
Heller has reversed the prohibition in Miller and given Second Amendment protections to the sawed-off shotgun.
I wonder how long before this sinks in...