IJ and the DC Gun Ban Case

IJ and the DC Gun Ban Case

The U.S. Supreme Court’s historic opinion upholding the individual right to bear arms had an interesting Institute for Justice pedigree.

Although it was not an IJ case, four of the attorneys who pursued this case had strong IJ connections. IJ Senior Attorneys Clark Neily and Steve Simpson first proposed the case and crafted the public interest legal strategy that would ultimately prove victorious, and Clark continued on as one of the three attorneys of record who represented the individuals challenging D.C.’s gun ban. Bob Levy, who funded and helped litigate the case, is an IJ Board member and co-author with IJ President Chip Mellor of the recent book, The Dirty Dozen, which looks at the worst U.S. Supreme Court precedents of the modern era. And Alan Gura, who argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, was one of IJ’s first law clerks. What’s more, Institute for Justice Vice President for Communications John Kramer directed the media relations for the team.


The case was deliberately crafted and litigated in the model of an IJ case right from the start with a carefully considered legal strategy, passionate and articulate clients, and strong arguments both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion.

There were 47 friend-of-the-court briefs filed supporting the individual right to bear arms. IJ’s brief, however, was the only one cited favorably in Justice Antonin Scalia’s 64-page majority opinion.

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