December 4, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon announced today that he will work with attorneys general from other states to file a brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s gun control laws. Those laws essentially ban private handgun ownership and require that rifles and shotguns kept in private homes be unloaded and broken down or fitted with a trigger lock. When the Supreme Court takes a case, it allows interested parties not directly involved to file amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” briefs.
“This case represents the first time in nearly 70 years that the Court will directly examine the Second Amendment,” Nixon said. “We have an opportunity here to get a court decision solidifying what most Americans already believe: that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms.”
Nixon noted that not all rights are absolute, and that he supports Missouri’s laws, including those that prevent criminals from obtaining handguns and enhance criminal penalties for crimes committed using deadly weapons.
Nixon will be working with his colleagues in other states to present the Court with historical and legal analysis supporting the position that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
“I believe our Founders intended the Second Amendment to extend to all law-abiding citizens, and I am pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to resolve this debate,” Nixon said.
The case before the Supreme Court is District of Columbia v. Heller, Case No. 07-290. The Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the spring and issue a decision before June 30, 2008.
In 2004, Nixon successfully defended Missouri’s concealed carry law before the Missouri Supreme Court, establishing the Missouri General Assembly’s power to permit concealed weapons in Missouri.