Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan Statement on Supreme Court's Decision in District of Columbia V. Heller
ATF Acting Director ATF Michael J. Sullivan released the following statement on the recent Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia et. al. v. Heller:
ATF is pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms, including for private purposes unrelated to militia operations. The court's ruling is in accordance with the text of the Second Amendment, historical practice, and the Attorney General's 2001 guidance on the scope of the Second Amendment, and is consistent with the bureau's understanding of the scope of the Second Amendment.
The Bureau also is pleased that the court appropriately made clear that nothing in [the] ruling casts doubt on the constitutionality of longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
In addition, the court appropriately recognized that the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons, such as machineguns, is not protected by the amendment. The bureau is studying the decision, but expects that it will not affect its continued enforcement of all existing federal firearms laws.