Highland, CA asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for California

Q: Don't laws prohibiting gun ownership violate the 2nd Amendment.?

2nd Amend has the words "shall not be infringed." Statutory construction states that "shall" is mandatory. Any law, statute, code or regulation that prohibits a person from owning a gun is an infringement. Wouldn't the clear language of the 2nd Amendment prohibit this making those laws null and void.

2 Lawyer Answers

Louis George Fazzi

  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Jess Ranch, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: This is not a forum in which people get to ask random legal questions about issues of law they are curious about. If you have a specific issue that you are dealing with and need help with, let me know.

Jonathon Howard Kaplan

  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No. The right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment is not absolute. It must be balanced against other rights and interests.

The United States Supreme Court stated as much in the landmark case of D.C. v. Heller:

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, concealed weapons prohibitions … possessions of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing condition and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

The Court also upheld the historical ban on dangerous and unusal weapons, holding that assault rifles with large clips can be outlawed.

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