D.C. Going to the Mat on Guns

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The shining city on a hill is appealing the gun legalization ruling, again:

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced today that the city will appeal to the Supreme Court to uphold a long-time ban on handguns that was overturned by a lower court in March.

"We have made the determination that this law can and should be defended," Fenty said in a statement.

I'd be amazed if the Roberts Court reverses the decision. But the city's probably planning ahead for a defeat or a denial of cert and cooking up creative ways of keeping residents from arming themselves. (The law-abiding residents, I mean.)

Jacob Sullum saluted
the ruling back in March.

NEXT: Waltz of the Porkers

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  1. Here we go…time to strap on the seatbelts and see what happens to a real second amendment case at the Supreme Ct. I kinda look forward to it.

  2. Also note that the Philadelphia City Council passed, in May I believe, an ordnance limiting firearm purchases to no more than one a month, in direct violation of the Pennsylvania state preemption law (no government in PA may have stricter gun laws than that of the state itself).

    The Council is trying to force a confrontation with the state over this one. Also they are suing the state to void the preemption law.

  3. I fully expect a cert denied ruling from the Supremes. They did that with the fifth circuit ruling in Texas, and will do it here. We will end up with a situation where the second amendment is the only place federalism survives.

  4. First, I’m a supporter of the 2nd amendment. But as a DC resident, I’d be more afraid for my own safety if the law is struck down. I don’t know what that makes me…

  5. First, I’m a supporter of the 2nd amendment. But as a DC resident, I’d be more afraid for my own safety if the law is struck down. I don’t know what that makes me…

    Ignorant and uneducated, in my opinion. I don’t mean it as an insult as in “ignorant fool”, I mean you’re not aware of the statistics that show that a) such a ban is worthless, and b) whether you agree or disagree on crime reduction by civilian posession/carry, all the data at least shows no great harm by it.

    I would suggest educating yourself, and looking at the fact that if someone who intends you harm will do so with a firearm, do you really think that with the prospect of life imprisionment or death as a result of their actions, making firearm possession worth a couple more years to the charge is going to make a difference?

    The no brainer answer is “no”, and if that’s the case, why would you feel less safe?

  6. If the Supreme Court doesn’t reverse Parker v. District of Columbia does that also make Chicago’s handgun ban unconstitutional as well?

  7. Comparing DC (guns banned) to Baltimore (guns not banned) makes it clear: gun control doesn’t reduce crime much, nor does legal gun ownership/ccw. Limited studies have shown effets in both directions, but never really significant changes in either direction, which makes one think that the slight variances have been due to other factors.

    I’d like to see DC end the War on Drugs. That might actually reduce crime!

  8. Other Matt

    I would suggest educating yourself, and looking at the fact that if someone who intends you harm will do so with a firearm, do you really think that with the prospect of life imprisionment or death as a result of their actions, making firearm possession worth a couple more years to the charge is going to make a difference?

    I don’t know. Assault or robbery without a firearm is 1) much more difficult and 2) not nearly as serious (in terms of legal punishments) as if there was the use of a gun.

    If I were considering committing a crime, I know I’d be much less likely to use a gun in the presence of strict gun control.

  9. If I were considering committing a crime, I know I’d be much less likely to use a gun in the presence of strict gun control.

    OK, guns are not my passion at all unlike many here, but… that statement is just silly.

  10. If I were considering committing a crime, I know I’d be much less likely to use a gun in the presence of strict gun control.

    OK, guns are not my passion at all unlike many here, but… that statement is just silly.

    Seems like this part was answered appropriately.

    I don’t know. Assault or robbery without a firearm is 1) much more difficult and 2) not nearly as serious (in terms of legal punishments) as if there was the use of a gun.

    You’re assuming that you’re using a firearm to threaten/intimidate rather than murder, I guess? A knife works just as well, and in fact is more deadly than firearms in a lot of ways. I don’t particularly think it’s more difficult without a firearm, especially since the in vogue solution is to give someone your belongings just because they ask.

    What you’re falling victim to, assuming I’m not falling victim to a troll, is the natural human tendency to project your values on others. Sure, it would stop you from using a firearm because of potential penalties, because you believe you could get caught. The problem with that logic is that criminals are optimists, they don’t believe they’ll get caught. Therefore, additional punishment doesn’t really phase them, if a firarm makes it so much easier as you say.

    If the Supreme Court doesn’t reverse Parker v. District of Columbia does that also make Chicago’s handgun ban unconstitutional as well?

    We can only hope.

  11. blah,

    I don’t think you are a very inexperienced criminal. 🙂

    Given a choice between robbing someone using a gun, and robbing someone using a kinfe, I’d take the gun, especially in a gun control regime.

    1) Guns can easily be dumped.

    2) In a fight, the person wielding the knife is often cut by the knife themselves (once the blood begins to low, knife handles become slippery)

    3) A gun will stop a heavier, stronger person. A knife, not so much.

    4) Mastering a knife well enough to win fights consistently requires a fair amount of practice, not so with guns.

    Then again, I’ve never mugged anyone either, so what do I know?

  12. Okay, that should have read, I don’t think you’re a very experienced criminal. Stupid intertubes.

  13. 4) Mastering a knife well enough to win fights consistently requires a fair amount of practice, not so with guns.

    Mastering a gun well enough to intimidate someone may be easy, but mastering firearms well enough to win a fight with one is a wholly different matter.

  14. The term “gun control” is not a description of legislation designed to lock away bad people for a long time. It is usually applied to legislation making it more difficult for the sorts of people who are inclined to obey laws to buy a gun. So to suggest you would be less likely to use a firearm for crime in the presence of gun control does not make sense, unless it was meant you would be less likely to use a firearm for crime because you never had one in the first place.

    Interestingly, politicos of the party most likely to take away your guns are also most likely to vote against increased penalties for violent use of the weapon. They do, however, push for strict penalties for breaking the gun control laws. Its the gun they have the biggest problem with, not the young Democrat using it.

  15. “We have made the determination that this law can and should be defended,” Fenty said in a statement.

    And how better to defend something than with a gun?

    Think about this with all our other rights basically residing on the bathroom floor of the Capital it would be really ill advised to continue trying to ban the 2nd Amendment. After all if the citizens have no rights left anyway they might as well whip out their guns and get them back once the 2nd has been trampled out of existance as well. If we have no rights and no freedoms as we are supposed to then what would all the gun owners have to lose in the event they banned guns.

    Politicians are far from smart but something tells me a simple look at the statistics for the number of gun owners and guns in this country would keep them from wanting to make that many people instant criminals. What better way to ensure all criminals have guns than to make anyone with a gun a criminal. As such we might as well take the law into our own hands at that point and reclaim ALL our rights. No amount of Secret Service or security will keep you safe from that many people!

  16. If the Supreme Court doesn’t reverse Parker v. District of Columbia does that also make Chicago’s handgun ban unconstitutional as well?

    Nope. Different Federal Court Circuit. Just like the Fifth Circuit ruling that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms doesn’t hold in the Ninth Circuit, which made the opposite ruling. Which is why SCOTUS needs to get off the pot.

    If I were considering committing a crime, I know I’d be much less likely to use a gun in the presence of strict gun control.

    If you’re thinking that far ahead, you already aren’t the type of person who commits most crimes. Britain has the kind of gun control that gives the U.S. anti-gun folks wet dreams, and the British gun crime rate is rising.

    The gun control folks say they need the gun laws to bring the crime rate down. But in D.C. they’ve had a de facto gun ban for thirty years, and it still isn’t working.

    Mastering a gun well enough to intimidate someone may be easy, but mastering firearms well enough to win a fight with one is a wholly different matter.

    It’s still a whole lot easier than a knife.

  17. Mr Econotarian

    Much as I hate the War on Drugs(c)1914, it would be a disaster for a small place like DC to end it unilateraly. The needle park experiment in Switzerland suggests that it would concentrate the massive troubles created by prohibition into a tiny geographic area. Prohibition is something like a knife wound where you do more damage by ripping it straight out than by leaving it in place. (funny how governments are good at creating policies that do great short-term damage when ended although greater long-term damage).

    Then again, the people in DC created the problems. Maybe they deserve to enjoy the effects.

  18. It’s actually possible that the Roberts court would want to hear this case. The court has shifted a little further right than last time around, and is willing to incrementally roll back existing decisions and precidents. This is a textbook perfect case for them to do so, especially with a “sympathetic” plaintiff and the City being a bit on the “unsympathetic” side.

  19. Then again, the people in DC created the problems. Maybe they deserve to enjoy the effects.

    I didn’t create the problems…

    Britain has the kind of gun control that gives the U.S. anti-gun folks wet dreams, and the British gun crime rate is rising.

    Lay comparisons like that don’t really work. I could rephrase your sentence and say that Britain has strong gun control, and their crime rate is much lower than ours (even if it is rising). Of course, there are tons of factors affecting crime rate, so you need to control for other factors. That’s why studies on this topic are so hard. As far as I know, the scientific consensus is that there is no positive or negative relationship between gun control laws and crime rates. Even still, I’d feel less safe without them.

    Of course, that’s not to say they should be banned, it’s just me being honest with my instincts.

  20. Regarding the idea that “the people in DC created the problems” — think about D.C. residents’ voting power in the national government…

  21. There is some material available on this subject:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1573928836/associatizer-20/

    Gary Kleck’s work is most notable. Search his name and you will find craploads of information. It may not support your instictive opinion – it didn’t support his.

  22. By “the people in DC” I meant the national politicians and by “the problems” I meant the nationwide effects of prohibition. The term “maybe” was meant to imply that I was being sardonic.

  23. I could rephrase your sentence and say that Britain has strong gun control, and their crime rate is much lower than ours (even if it is rising).

    You could, but you’d be wrong. Britain’s violent crime rate has been higher than the U.S. since the late 1990s, and it’s still rising. Ours is falling.

  24. blah sez “If I were considering committing a crime, I know I’d be much less likely to use a gun in the presence of strict gun control.”

    Which indicates you put waaaaaaaayyyyy more thought into crime then the average criminal.

    Criminal genius is like military intelligence.

  25. think about D.C. residents’ voting power in the national government

    And this has exactly squat to do with how DC polices its city.

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