Yesterday’s United States Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller confirmed what the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has been saying all along: the Second Amendment does indeed protect a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms. But because Washington, D.C. is a federal enclave, the Heller ruling applies to the federal government only.

Today, using the Heller decision as the basis for the challenge, the Citizens Committee, in partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA), filed a civil rights lawsuit to confirm that the Second Amendment restricts state and local governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms as well.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court against the City of San Francisco and the San Francisco Public Housing Authority to invalidate the City’s ordinance (Police Code section 617) and lease provision that bans the possession of firearms in public housing

Before the Second Amendment can be used to challenge unconstitutional regulations laws at the state or local level, it must be “incorporated” through the Fourteenth Amendment to apply to the state and local governments. The lawsuit will serve to establish the incorporation doctrine in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, including California, and invalidate the existing ban on firearms in public housing in San Francisco in the process.

“As with the advancement of any civil right throughout history, subsequent litigation is essential in order to establish both the parameters of the Second Amendment’s protections, and initially to establish that the Second Amendment restricts state and local governments from infringing on your right to self-defense,” said Chuck Michel, civil rights attorney for the plaintiffs in the case.

“Just because someone lives in public housing does not mean that person must surrender his or her civil rights, or their right of self-defense,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This lawsuit seeks to restore the rights of those living in public housing to choose to own a gun for sport or to defend their families.”