American Free Press AFP
Last Real Newspaper
Top_bar7About AFPBookstoreArchivesMember Login
left_menu7Free issueSubscribe
left_menu9Online Edition
left_menu13First AmendmentHistoryLinksFirst Amendment
Ho t_news
Video clips
Alerts bottom

Institute for Truth Studies

John ellis water

V-MAIL, Stop Typing and Start Talking


Support AFP: Visit Our Advertisers


By Mark Anderson

PHOENIX, Ariz.—At the 138th annual National Rifle Association convention, near-record numbers of firearms and accessories sellers, shoppers and Second Amendment guardians—including Dick Heller, respondent in the famous District of Columbia v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court ruling—swarmed the downtown convention center May 14 to May 17.



Heller, a D.C. resident, received repeated attention from NRA officials and celebrities because the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling in his case recognized that the right to bear arms is an individual right, not a collective one, and ruled that handguns can now be owned by D.C. residents on an even footing with long guns—loaded, unlocked and ready to go. At least that’s the intent.


Heller, interviewed by AFP at the exhibit booth operated by Hi Point Firearms and Charter Arms, was recognized as a Second Amendment hero later that day by guitar rocker, avid hunter and NRA Board member Ted Nugent during his fiery “Ted, White and Blue” political oratory. ABC’s John Stossel, among the few government skeptics in the corporate media, called attention to Heller during his keynote speech to more than 5,000 NRA members. Stossel noted that, in Heller’s case, the Supreme Court threw out a 32-year handgun ban in the District of Columbia, which was passed in 1976. Heller stood up during the dinner to loud applause.

However, Heller told AFP that the District of Columbia—ever since the Supreme Court ruled on his case in June 2008—is digging in its heels and trying to make owning and using guns in D.C. a complicated affair. Heller’s legal helper, Bill of Rights Foundation President Dane vonBreichenruchardt, seconded that motion.

AFP asked Heller about the legal landscape since the ruling.

“That’s an interesting question,” said Heller, noting that despite the challenges that lie ahead, it was still a worthwhile victory. “Because you never know how you would be doing had we not [won] it. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. . . one of exhilaration for years [while] thinking ‘we have got to do something. What can we do?’ Once we got started and got serious, then every few days was an up or down ride. You think you’re on the path to the Supreme Court, but then you trip over something and it takes three weeks, or a year, to recover or re-implement a new legal strategy.”

Heller and vonBreichenruchardt met in 1993 and decided to challenge the D.C. handgun ban, mainly because the handgun ban had sparked a high crime rate. VonBreichenruchardt went to Georgetown University to learn law, though he did not become an attorney. Heller had legal standing to own a handgun, because he worked as an armed security guard, but could not take home his weapon for self-defense. He still is employed in that function.

In 2006, “Heller I” started in U.S. District Court for Washington D.C. Heller’s team lost there; it was appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court and then went to the Supreme Court. Heller was the plaintiff until the District filed an appeal and became the petitioner, making Heller the respondent; hence, in the final ruling the case was called District of Columbia v. Heller.

Did D.C. officials follow through and totally throw out their gun ban like the court ordered?

“In my dreams—in our ‘free’ society’s fantasy world, yes,” Heller replied, laughing at the tedious rules that local officials are trying to require for gun ownership in the wake of the ruling. “They [D.C. city officials] started eating sour pickles and said, ‘You have your individual rights, but we have gun control.’ ”

Heller added: “They controlled everything from bullet-count, to color of gun, to misclassifying semi-automatics as machine guns—until we fought back with the Heller II case. . . .We had to, because they said, ‘we’re giving you nothing except your right to own it.’”

Accordingly, Heller circulated fliers at the NRA convention that noted: “The battle to assure the Supreme Court’s ruling is implemented correctly involves ongoing and expensive litigation.” It states that donations can be made to the Bill of Rights Foundation to “directly support the Heller [II] Case.”

Heller II was filed in July 2008 after the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

VonBreichenruchardt told AFP: “As you know, we prevailed on the initial case, then we filed immediately after because the city [which had seemingly obeyed dropping their outright ban on handguns] refused to register any semi-automatic handguns. They also left this draconian requirement in place where the gun has to be disassembled, trigger-locked and unloaded until a threat is assessed. [They said that] if you assess that there is a threat, then you can assemble your gun and load it and use it against your assailant. So we filed [a challenge] on that but it never went to court. The city backed off. However, since then, they have arbitrarily just picked ‘the California list of approved and unapproved guns,’ that can be registered. They just adopted that list. It has no rhyme or reason. Certain guns are not allowed to be registered just for cosmetics.”

Describing one of many silly rules that D.C. city officials want to require, vonBreichenruchardt said that they won’t allow ownership of a Colt 45 “Series 70” handgun but will allow the exact same gun as long as it does not have “Series 70” etched on it. Series 70 refers to the model number of a particular assembly year. Guns owned in D.C. must be black or silver—no “designer” colors are allowed, examples of which were exhibited nearby during the interview.  For example, Charter Arms of Dayton, Ohio, sells the “Pink Lady” revolver, among other colorfully finished guns that this AFP writer and camera assistant, Angie, examined. That company made a special revolver to recognize Heller’s efforts.

According to vonBreichenruchardt, the city ever allowing concealed-carry permits in D.C. is as likely as finding an empty beer can on the moon. But it gets worse.

“You cannot even take the gun out of the house. To go to a shooting range outside the city, you have to . . . disassemble it, bullets have to be in a completely different place, and you have to carry a special permit and you have to drive directly out of the city,” vonBreichenruchardt told AFP. These stated rules show why “Heller II and beyond” is needed in a sustained effort to simplify handgun ownership in D.C. now that it is technically allowed, he added.

He also said that a major but lesser-known result of “Heller I” is that rifles and shotguns are supposed to be treated the same as handguns—as an allowable firearm that can be assembled, loaded and ready to fire in case of a home invasion or some other threat.

The point to remember, says vonBreichenruchardt, is that the District of Columbia remains dedicated to such hair-splitting gun regulations that criminals, by definition, will never follow in order to gain the upper hand over law-abiding citizens. But the main thing is that “the Supreme Court for the first time in almost 70 years agreed that the Second Amendment is a fundamental, enumerated, individual right—not a collective right.”


For updates, see, which is Heller’s Facebook page.

 MARK ANDERSON is AFP's corresponding editor.

Subscribe to American Free Press. Online subscriptions: One year of weekly editions—$15 plus you get a BONUS ELECTRONIC BOOK - HIGH PRIESTS OF WAR - By Michael Piper.

Print subscriptions: 52 issues crammed into 47 weeks of the year plus six free issues of Whole Body Health: $59  Order on this website or call toll free 1-888-699-NEWS .

Sign up for our free e-newsletter here - get a free gift just for signing up!

(Issue # 21, May 25, 2009)

Send this page to a friend! (click here)

Please make a donation to American Free Press

Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003

Support AFP: Visit Our Advertisers

Send this page to a friend! (click here)