Guns

Congress Takes Aim At D.C.'s Gun Laws

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Even after losing the epochal Second Amendment Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller back in June, D.C. has truculently tried to remain as restrictionist as they think they can get away with when it comes to its citizens' ability to own weapons, including an extremely eccentric definition of "machine gun" that so far makes only revolvers and derringers legal for D.C. citizens even post-Heller.

A bill that seems likely to pass the House this week will change that. The Washington Post has details:

The legislation has four main goals. It would repeal the D.C. ban on semiautomatic pistols and rifles; eliminate the city's gun-registration requirements; allow District residents to purchase guns in Virginia and Maryland; and abolish the regulation that guns kept at home be unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with trigger locks.

The NRA considers the bill its top legislative priority this season, and even many Democrats, traditionally the party of gun control, are on board to overrule D.C on guns. Though D.C. Mayor Fenty begged Pelosi and Waxman to let D.C. settle its gun policy itself, the Post notes:

Pelosi decided to act after Republicans indicated that they could gather enough signatures to bring a D.C. gun bill to the floor. Although Democrats have a 37-seat advantage in the House, dozens of party members are strong gun-rights proponents, reflecting opinion in their districts.

Facing the possibility of being outflanked just weeks before the election, House Democrats introduced their own legislation. The Democratic leadership has promised to bring it to a vote, several congressional sources said.

"It's something a number of our members have indicated they support," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi.

Dave Weigel was on top of the aftermath of Heller and D.C.'s continued love for gun control as strict as they think they can get away with here and here (in which Dick Heller files another lawsuit against D.C.'s gun control laws).

The full story of the Heller case and its meaning for the future of gun control is the topic of my forthcoming book Gun Control on Trial, out in November, published by the Cato Institute. And look for an excerpt from it in a forthcoming issue of reason.

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  1. Any word lately on how Heller’s second suit is going?

  2. Wow, Nancy Pelosi D-CA is proposing a law to relax gun control laws after the Supreme Court found an individual right to bear arms?

    The Brady guys must be having a stroke. Gun control is swimming against the tide these days.

  3. my forthcoming book

    My aren’t you the busy little word smith. I was hoping for another social fringe book. Got anything cooking on the raw food folks?

  4. Brian first how was Burning man this year? If you didn’t go how come “Reason” didn’t send a reporter or deputize someone on the scene?

    Guns, what do you got? I got two mossberg 12 guage pistol griped 500A, Springfield M1A and six pistols and one relvover.
    Can copywrite the “REASON MILITIA”?
    Thanks and keep up the good work.
    Viva the Libertarian militia.

  5. my forthcoming book Gun Control on Trial, out in November

    Looking forward to it. Radicals for Capitalism was lots of fun. One can only hope for as many excellent eccentrics in your upcoming work.

  6. Wow, Nancy Pelosi D-CA is proposing a law to relax gun control laws after the Supreme Court found an individual right to bear arms?

    I know. Pinch me.

    Although, I would note that Pelosi had to be strong-armed into bringing the bill, so we aren’t quite to the Apocalypse yet.

    Guns, what do you got?

    Around a dozen, thanks. Plans for two more (I need a more reasonable caliber for deer, and a carry .45).

  7. Word! Fuck D.C. I wonder what this will do to the Cali bans on magazine sizes.

    2 guns, for now…
    Sig 226 9mm (Made in W. Germany)
    Remington 870 Express (Soon to be converted to a home defense shotgun. (New grips/furnishings, mag extension, shorter barrel.)

  8. Even if this bill is passed, it still doesn’t go far enough. Congress should add that residents of D.C. should be able to get a concealed carry licenses.

  9. As despicable as DC’s gun laws are, it is no excuse for throwing federalism under the bus. Yes, the laws are unconstitutional, but it is up to the courts to make that judgment, not Congress.

  10. Er, DC is under Congressional jurisdiction. It is not a state. Having Congress pass gun laws for DC does no harm to the remaining shreds of federalism.

    Thanks for playing, though, G-or-F

  11. As despicable as DC’s gun laws are, it is no excuse for throwing federalism under the bus.

    Blame the framers.

    The Congress shall have Power To? exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such Dis?trict (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Con?gress, become the Seat of the Gov?ernment of the United States?

    The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17.

  12. DC is run by complete morons. They make other city governments look good.

  13. As despicable as DC’s gun laws are, it is no excuse for throwing federalism under the bus. Yes, the laws are unconstitutional, but it is up to the courts to make that judgment, not Congress.

    So, if a state were to pass blatantly unconstitutional laws, and the courts, by narrow majorities, refused to overturn those laws, you think congress has no business overturning those unconstitutional laws by enacting laws affirming the clear meaning of the constitution?

    Let’s say, to take an entirely theoretical example, that some state decides that eminent domain allows the seizing of private property for the purpose of turning it over to other private property owners, and the Supreme Court (still theoretically speaking) refuses to declare this unconstitutional by, say, a 5-4 margin. Are you saying Congress would have no right to pass laws declaring such seizures under the guise of eminent domain illegal, because states should be allowed to do whatever the heck they want?

    How about Dred Scott, if eminent domain isn’t outrageous enough for you?

    Checks and balances means Congress can take action when the courts fail to do their job.

  14. I would like to know how elected government officials – who swear an oath to uphold the constitution – can ignore any part of the constitution and not be held accountable? And what about the tenth amendment? How can congress pass laws or bureaucrats mandate regulations when the constitution does not give them the authority? I would like to see law suits filed to settle these issues once and for all. Does anyone else have the same concerns? I believe government is out of control. They no longer answer to ‘the people’ but rather dictate to ‘the people’. I think it is past time that we ‘the people’ make our disgust with congress known.

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