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Gun ownership advocate continues his fight in the courts

Robert Houk • Updated Feb 10, 2020 at 9:49 PM

The plaintiff in the landmark “Heller v. District of Columbia” decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 told local Republicans Monday that he equates gun ownership with freedom.

“Very few people get through to the Supreme Court,” Dick Heller told members of the East Tennessee Republican Club meeting at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City. “I’m very proud my case created a lot of buzz.”

Heller, who worked as a special armed police officer in Washington, D.C, said he thought it to be both a “double standard” and unconstitutional that he could carry a gun on the job, but was in violation of a 1976 D.C. handgun ban if he took it home. That’s when Heller took his case to the courts.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 —  in a majority opinion that Heller said was written by “the magnificent” late Justice Antonin Scalia — that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms, unconnected with service in a militia, for such lawful purposes as self-defense and home protection.

“The Supreme Court ruled the Second Amendment to be an individual and enumerated right,” Heller said

Heller, who created the Heller Foundation and has become a nationally-known Second Amendment advocate, said his goal with the litigation was to make sure “everyone has the right to own a gun.” He said he is continuing his fight in the courts for gun ownership rights with the help of Gun Owners of America.

He said that organization stands as a “no compromise gun lobby in D.C.”

Heller said this election year is going to be important for gun rights, and encouraged local Republicans to vote for candidates who will not compromise on the Second Amendment and support “constitutional carry” laws.

He said Tennessee lawmakers must continue to block so-called “red flag” laws, and he praised resolutions passed by several local counties to declare themselves to be “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

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