Prior to the Twenty-First Century, the United States Supreme Court decided only one Second Amendment case of material consequence and that was Unites States v. Miller. In Miller, two individuals were charged with transporting a short-barred shotgun across state lines in violation of a statute that required weapons of that type to be registered and taxed. In rejecting the defendant’s Second Amendment challenge the Court concluded that the right-to-bear-arms was tethered to “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”
It is important to note that the Miller Court decided the case under circumstances where neither the accused nor their attorneys ever filed a brief or appeared at oral arguments. The frailties of such a process is readily apparent and as a result of this lopsided proceeding, the Court overlooked the fact that short-barrel shotguns were used throughout the history of warfare, including during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
Almost 70 years later, the United States Supreme Court decided the District of Columbia v. Heller case. In what is not considered a landmark decision, the Supreme Court created a sea change of ideas as to the philosophical and historic underpinning of the Second Amendment by augmenting the forms of this organic right. Where Miller concluded that the Second Amendment was rooted in a military purpose, the Court in Heller engrafted an individual purpose which was linked to the protection of self, family and the home.
In Heller, the court “held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self defense” and as a result, it “struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home.” Later in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court concluded that the Second Amendment right-to-bear-arms is so “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty” that it must be applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.
New Jersey has one of the strictest gun laws in the country. If you are convicted of a gun offense in New Jersey, there is a good likelihood that you will be sent to jail and in many cases the opportunities for parole will be significantly delayed. If you are charged with a gun related offense, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney now. Frank T. Luciano has been representing people accused of gun crimes in Hackensack and Paterson for over 40 years. He is a member of the New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society (NJ2AS), an organization conceived to protect our right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. He is also a lifetime member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL). You can determine Frank’s commitment to his client and their cases by reading the Testimonials Section of this website.