Crime

Gun Controllers Need Not Fear 'Intermediate Scrutiny'

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This news is a couple of weeks old, but I don't think anyone here has discussed it yet: Last month a federal judge upheld the firearm regulations that Washington, D.C., enacted after the Supreme Court overturned its gun ban in the 2008 case D.C. v. Heller. Dick Heller, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, challenged the new rules, arguing that D.C.'s onerous gun registration requirements, its ban on "assault weapons," and its prohibition of magazines holding more than 10 rounds violate the Second Amendment. U.S. District Judge Richard Urbina disagreed, saying all of the regulations are "substantially related to an important governmental interest," as required by "intermediate scrutiny."

In his ruling, Urbina settles on that standard of review after rejecting the District's argument that he should apply the highly deferential "rational basis" test. He notes that the Supreme Court precluded that approach in Heller. "If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis," it said, "the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect." But Urbina adds that the Court did not explicitly endorse "strict scrutiny," which requires that a law be "narrowly tailored" to advance a "compelling governmental interest" (although the Court did say that the Second Amendment was designed to protect a "pre-existing" right that was viewed as "fundamental," a description that implies strict scrutiny).

Urbina's application of intermediate scrutiny in this case amounts to asking whether D.C. officials claim to have good reasons for their regulations. He is not at all skeptical of their assertion that the District's complicated, frustrating, time-consuming requirements for gun ownership, which he notes "are more burdensome than those of most cities and states," will promote public safety. Likewise, he uncritically accepts the District's claims that "assault weapons are disproportionately likely to be used by criminals" and "are not generally recognized as particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes," even though Heller refuted both of those assertions. Because the D.C. Council "held extensive hearings and heard from numerous witnesses," Urbina is not interested in considering the evidence on these issues.

Tellingly, Urbina does not even explain what assault weapon means, perhaps because providing the District's definition (PDF) would show how arbitrary this category is. In addition to banning dozens of pistol, rifle, and shotgun models by name, D.C. prohibits weapons that meet certain criteria. For example, a rifle is prohibited if it accepts a detachable magazine (as all semiautomatic rifles, with a few obscure exceptions, do)* and has any of these features:

(aa) pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(bb) A thumbhole stock;

(cc) A folding or telescoping stock;

(dd) A grenade launcher or flare launcher;

(ee) A flash suppressor; or

(ff) A forward pistol grip.

As is typically the case with "assault weapon" bans, the disqualifying criteria have more to do with a scary "military-style" appearance than with features that make a practical difference in urban crime (and that's assuming D.C.'s gang-bangers are keen to follow gun regulations, in which case any with criminal records would already be barred from owning firearms). These laws make so little sense, gun control scholar Dave Kopel argued back in 1994, that they should fail even a "rational basis" test.

D.C. abandoned its post-Heller attempt to ban all semiautomatic pistols, which would have made revolvers the only viable option for law-abiding residents who wanted a handgun for self-defense. Since semiautomatic pistols are by far the most popular self-defense choice, that ban clearly conflicted with the Supreme Court's ruling, which said the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess weapons "in common use for lawful purposes." By narrowing its focus to "assault weapons," the District took advantage of Heller's reference to "dangerous and unusual" firearms that can be banned without violating the Second Amendment. That's why the question of whether these guns are in fact especially dangerous or unusual is crucial. If "intermediate scrutiny" means that courts will simply accept legislators' conclusions on such matters at face value, it will leave virtually all gun control laws undisturbed. Assuming Urbina's decision is appealed, it could ultimately provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to clarify the level of scrutiny that should be applied in Second Amendment cases.

Urbina's ruling is here. SCOTUS Blog discusses it here. The NRA, which backed Heller's lawsuit, reacts here. I discuss the development of Second Amendment jurisprudence in the context of another Heller exception, for bans on guns in "sensitive places," here.

More Reason coverage of D.C. v. Heller here.

[*Corrected by alert commenters: Detachable magazines are a very common feature on semiautomatic rifles, but there are notable (i.e., not "obscure") exceptions.]

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  1. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the regulation issue will not be resolved until SCOTUS defines the word infringed.

    1. Except that they will not do that. SCOTUS will decide only the specific case or controversy that is before it, and then it generally will do so using the narrowest ground available to it. It is unlikely that a case would require the Court to come up with a universal “definition” of “infringed.”

      And really, there isn’t a need to define infringe – it’s a pretty well-understood word. The question that the Court is going to have to answer, on a case-by-case basis, is whether a particular restriction or requirement should be construed to infringe upon the right that the Second Amendment protects.

      1. Applying intermediate scrutiny to the right to bare arms is absurd. Intermediate scrutiny is used rarely, if at all. It applies in sex-based classification cases, and place, manner, and time free speech restrictions. Lumping in gun control with these is absolutely ridiculous. (I could go into a discussion on why the classification schemes are absolutely meaningless, but another day.)

        1. goddammit, bear arms, not bare arms. And not bear arms, bear arms. This is getting confusing

          1. Perhaps if you waited until AFTER 4:20 to toke the 420 it would be less difficult? 😉

            1. I wait every day until after 4:20….am. That is what you meant, isn’t it?

      2. a particular restriction or requirement should be construed to infringe upon the right that the Second Amendment protects.

        I would still argue that Heller raised more questions about what that right is than it answered.

        1. But despite the 5/4 quibbling, all 9 of them did finally, at long last, state that the right does exist and that it does apply to individuals. Thats a good start that we can all take to the bank. Keep in mind that Thurgood Marshall did not get “separate but equal” thrown out in one fell swoop. Our Second Amendment has been nibbled to death by ducks since at least the NFA in 1934. We might have to settle for nibbling it back one small chunk at a time.

        2. True — but until Heller, it wasn’t truly considered a right.

          1. It was in 1791.

  2. The so-called “extensive hearings and heard from numerous witnesses,” Urbina refers to includes Brian Siebel, Senior Attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Cathy L. Lainer, Chief of the DC Metropolitan Police Department (a political appointee of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty). Apparently Judge Urbina saw no conflict of interest in this testimony and found it worthy of specifically highlighting it in his ruling. How is taking the word of two vehement anti-gunners applying intermediate scrutiny?

  3. I wouldn’t say that the semi-auto rifles without a detachable magazine are necessarily obscure. The venerable M-1 Garand, for example, doesn’t have a detachable magazine but it’s far from obscure (having been in every World War II movie ever made).

    Don’t think it excuses D.C.’s bullshit move though. And it pisses me off that the judge just accepts the typical argument that so-called assault weapons are used disproportionally by criminals. The numbers don’t back that up. In fact, the so-called “assault weapon” is the last thing most criminals want to carry. Why? It’s hard to hide, and they kind of need that in their line of work, you know?

    1. Depends on how you define “magazine.” Some people consider it to be any “ammunition feeding device,” which the en bloc clip certainly is, and it is detachable.

      1. My Remington 700 has a detachable magazine. This is a bolt-action model, not some semi-auto. This is now an assault rifle?

        … Hobbit

        1. Can you tape a bayonet to the barrel? Then it’s an assault rifle.

          1. I bet if you worked the action fast enough you could get it up to semi-auto territory.

            1. I’m glad the anti-gunners have never watched a cowboy action shooting match. If they saw how fast some guys can operate single action revolvers and lever action rifles they’d wanna ban those too.

          2. Actually all he needs is the bayonet lug, no dangerous sharp metal as can be found on some bayonets required.

            When’s the last time you heard of some postal employee doing a bayonet charge on his fellow postmen? Or anyone doing it for that matter. Bayonets just look scary!

          3. Especially if it also has a shoulder thing that goes up.

        2. No. But if you put a high-quality barrel on it, then it’s a lethal sniper rifle capable of killing children and noble progressive politicians from 10 mile distances.

          1. “10 mile distance” surely you jest. A good quality .338 Lapua Magnum 1600 yards maximum effective range. Bullets can travel farther if lobbed like artillery off the top of a igh mountain..but 10 miles…maybe from an airplane.

            1. I’ve seen the .50 Barrett described as having a 5 mile range. Never mind that you have to fire the gun at an angle usually reserved for mortars.

              1. Effective range is not the terminal range of a bullet when fired at the rising moon. Its “How far can it reliably hit an aimed target”. Or something like that. I am no expert. I just know what Wikipedia tells me.

                (e.g. Barrett M82 = 1,800m – and even that to me seems inflated. The more practical limit is probably more like 1300-1,500m. Bolt action 50 cals have shown better accuracy, something past 2000m in some cases, a la McMillan Tac 50. But again, the # of people who shoot to 2000m is so small that it may be pretty meaningless in the practical sense.)

            2. I’m pretty sure he’s being facetious, repeating the silly claims of VPC, Brady, and all the other Joyce front groups.

        3. Mine has a detachable magazine and a thumbhole stock. How a bolt action rifle can be banned, which it would be based off of their criteria is beyond me.

  4. Heller was a victory for the gun control crowd, not for the pro-gun crowd.

    1. Heller was a small but meaningful battle in a much larger war. There would be massive resistance no matter what.

      1. All I’m going to say is that the cities with the most draconian gun control laws also tend to have a long history of riots.

        Got to keep the lower classes disarmed, or they’ll riot more often and more effectively. I’ll leave it at that.

        1. So you’re saying that the more draconion the gun laws that are adopted, the more riots one can expect?

          Pesky cause and effect …

          1. That’s possible. I was more hinting that the more scared the city government was of poor people, the more gun control laws they pass.

    2. Heller was a victory for the gun control crowd, not for the pro-gun crowd.

      Sadly, I’m inclined to agree.

      1. I was criticized right here on these boards for not effusively ejaculating all over Scalia’s opinion. If one takes the time to examine Heller, one recognizes it as a modest step in the right direction. Emphasis on modest.

  5. Your NRA link is actually going to the SCOTUS blog.

  6. Also, the SKS is a very popular, and very cheap, stripper clip fed mil-surp semi-auto rifle.

    1. But it will “accept” a detachable mag.

      1. Unmodified ones won’t.

        1. Not true. All that you have to do is remove the lower half of the swivel magazine (which can be done without tools).

          1. Keith R. correct.

            1. Accept that would be a modification. The stock rifle as is will not accept magazines. It may however have a bayonet lug

  7. Thumbhole stocks?

    Jeebus H. on pogo stick. Those are supposed to help with long-range accuracy, not spray and pray.

    What a bunch of maroons.

    Although, to be fair, the Heller decision was so jammed full of dicta on how Constitutional most kinds of gun control laws are, its not surprising.

    1. My AK-clone has a thumbhole stock only because this meant that it was not an evil Assault Rifle under the Clinton ban.

      They will just keep adding to the definition until it is all-encompassing.

      1. This is correct: the original ban was on “folding stocks” a la old AKs, and the (oooh, run!) modified ruger mini14s so often wielded by the A-Team, never hitting anything.

        I think it was a later iteration of gun laws in Cali only where the thumbhole got tossed in as ‘really bad and scary’. Even though, as mentioned, its main application is for bench rest target shooting.

  8. Sullum, I hope you get a gun and accidentally shoot your balls off, you simpering right-wing fuckhead.

    1. bad troll is bad

    2. So that’s how you lost yours.

    3. Max the moron wieghs in. What an idiot.

  9. Ignore Edward/Morris/Lefiti/Max or he’ll start quoting the Torah.

  10. I think it’s absurb that this judge just accepted the assertion that “assault weapons” are “dangerous” and not owned by “law abiding citizens.” All guns are dangerous. They would be useless if they were not. And what’s the most popular and best-selling rifle of late? Yep, the AR-15 in all its iterations, which makes all the lists of “assault rifles” since it is a military style rifle which accepts high capacity detachable magazines.

    1. Ah, the old gun-control dodge, appearing to be “fair” by talking about “legitimate sporting purposes.” The 2nd Amendment doesn’t mention hunting. I own guns and I don’t hunt, have never hunted, don’t intend to start hunting.
      I am not a criminal, but I don’t own guns for “sporting purposes.”

      1. As far as the second amendment is concerned, you could ban guns for all hunting and sporting purposes. Assault weapons are exactly what it guarantees a right to: weapons useful for militia activity.

  11. Yeah buddy you hit that nail square on the head. Well done.

    Lou
    http://www.anon-resources.at.tc

  12. People are stupid. Take my sister for example (please). I was showing my brother-in-law and my father my collection of rifles. M1s, M1 carbines, M1A, and various other military rifles that I collect and shoot. I pull out my AR15 and my sister immediately says, “that’s the kind of gun that you shoot kids with”. Need I say more?

    Of course, I did. I explained that the M1A (semi version of the M14) is just as deadly as the AR. In fact, at long distances, probably moreso. No sale. How many SCT justices know the difference between a semi-auto with a pistol grip and one without?

    1. That’s when you ask her “have you consulted a psychiatrist about these lurid, violent fantasies of yours?”

      -jcr

      1. She was thinking Columbine obviously. But you’re right, she needs help.

        1. I thought those two murdering shits at Columbine used shotguns and a TEC-9, not ARs.

          But since it’s all about the FEAR, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

    2. Of course, I did. I explained that[…]

      Stop right there. You already lost the argument by engaging.

    3. I pull out my AR15 and my sister immediately says, “that’s the kind of gun that you shoot kids with”.

      By the way, rac, where does your sister teach?

      *ducks*

    4. i so want an m1a *drools*

      Anyway you are right, an m1a firing a .308 is more deadly at longer ranges because it holds its energy better than the standard (5.56) ar-15.

      1. “”Of course, I did. I explained that the M1A (semi version of the M14) is just as deadly as the AR. In fact, at long distances, probably moreso””

        Definitely *much* more so at both long and short ranges.

        .308 vs. .223 has close to 1000 additional foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. (typcial rounds – loads differ) Your older style M1 (.30-06) Garand even more so – about 300ft-lb more than .308. This ignores specific energy transfer at distances to a large degree (big rounds bleed it off faster), but in general the distinction holds at typical engagement ranges.

        A 5.56 AR is traditionally called an “assault rifle because it chambers an intermediate round = bigger and faster than a pistol cartridge, smaller and lighter than a rifle cartridge.

        Rifles like M1 or M14 (or like a European FAL) were and are still called “battle rifles”, because they fire high-powered, heavier bullets like the 308.

        This particular distinction is (unfortunately) meaningless in the current debate, where “assault rifles” is understood to mean “scary looking”, and has nothing to do with the round the gun fires.

        1. Well as assault rifles go, a true assault rifle is “Selective Fire” of which unless you have a class 3 you are illegal anyway.

          1. I’d take issue with that distinction since the first US approach at an select fire infantry weapon was the M14, which turned out to be uncontrollable in the role… but it was a battle rifle with select fire capabilities nonetheless. And ‘machine guns’ are select fire… the real distinction that made ‘assault weapons’ what they were was the adoption of new intermediate caliber rounds. Yes, that enabled more common use of the ‘spray and pray’ assault tactic, but most military people would point out that combat tactics with assault weapons are more effective with semiauto fire. So the fact that they *can* shoot burst or full auto isnt necessarily the defining characteristic of the weapon – its the lighter weight, the capacity for carrying more ammo and sending more firepower downrange, albeit less lethal rounds.

            Again, I think the semantic argument about what ‘assault weapons’ are is pretty mucked up as a result of the issue of civilian legality… and notice that the list of things that – according to the politicos – that make an assault rifle so evil doest include select fire capabilities… they’d probably call that a ‘machine gun’. 🙂 Its the design of the weapon. I suppose a Ruger 10/22 would be an assault weapon in their view if it had a folding stock and a flash suppressor, pistol grips, etc. Even though its probably less criminally dangerous than a skeet-shooting gun.

        2. “” This ignores specific energy transfer at distances to a large degree (big rounds bleed it off faster),””

          Excuse me… I think i meant to say small rounds…

  13. Just as long as my cap and ball Derringer is still legal.

  14. What’s latin for “I don’t care about the constitution or what the supreme court said, I want to ban guns and I’m a judge: Nyah, Nyah Nyah!”?

    -jcr

    1. Pro scientia legis.

  15. ban all semiautomatic pistols, which would have made revolvers the only viable option for law-abiding residents who wanted a handgun for self-defense.

    WTF?

    1. At least they didn’t limit it to single-action revolvers.

      1. Be thankful they don’t limit it to muzzle-loaders, arguing that that is all that was intended by the Founders.

        1. A 1/2″ musket ball is a pretty damn deadly projectile. Unfortunately, you need half a dozen muskets, and a couple of kids to load them for you to get any kind of decent rate of fire.

          -jcr

          1. And you have to wait until you see the whites of their eyes.

  16. “that’s the kind of gun that you shoot kids with”

    The person statistically most likely to shoot kids is their mother. She was blurting out her fantasy. Have her locked up before she comes back for the AR.

    1. Sometimes, you got to wonder if the mother is doing the kids a favor though.

    2. I love my dear sister. She went on that Million Mom march a few years back, and all reason regarding guns has left her, if it was ever there. My friends, the irrational fear of guns is the result of years of incessant liberal ideology being hammered into our kids’ heads in our schools. Schools should provide gun safety instruction instead.

      1. A couple of years ago my brother’s step-son received a Daisy spring action BB gun for Christmas. This was unwrapped at our parents place, and the look on Mom’s face was just precious (Mom’s been basically anti-gun all her life).

        So Staff Sargent Muddy took the kid down to the back-most part of the yard, gave the kid the basic gun safety lecture, showed him how to work the thing, and put out a couple of soda cans for plinking purposes. When the kid got tired of cranking the action, some of the rest of us started taking turns on it. I’d forgotten how awful the spread on those things is, but I could hit the can most of the time at the seven or eight yards we were using. Anyway, the non-shooters had followed the shooters out to continue the conversation, and somehow Mom took it in her head to have a go at it.

        So Sgt. Muddy gave her the lecture: hold it like so, point it down range, take the safety off, relax, breath in, breath out, and squeeze the trigger gently.

        ::PING!::

        She hit the can on the first go and her face lit up like sunshine. Then she remembered that she doesn’t like guns, and gave it back. But I could see her thinking about it for the rest of the afternoon.

        Damn if I know what the point of this story is, but maybe under the right circumstances some of these folk might be talked into a less hard position if they can meet a gun in positive way.

        1. was the same way she, hated the evul gun. Now she gets mad when her kids out shoot her and she is a pretty good shot.

        2. There may not be a better way to spend an afternoon than by shooting a brick of .22s.

          Well, okay, maybe second best way to spend an afternoon.

          … Hobbit

          1. Yes. The best way to spend the afternoon is to shoot a crate full of .50BMG.

              1. It’s good, but not that good.

                Well, ok, I guess it depends on who you’re having sex with, and what kind of sex. I mean, like sex sex, or Bill Clinton “sex.”

  17. Maybe the Federal Government can reclassify all citizens as Title II telecommunications providers and thus pass any regulation they want over us.

    1. Hate speech like that can get you thrown in jail.

  18. Why is everyone pussy-footing around the real question: if I want to put a freaking lazer on my shark what level of scrutiny would a law barring that be subject to?

    1. There is no law banning a laser on your shark…

      I just checked the CDC site to cull the number of people killed by lasers on sharks, and the query came back with “0”. So what’s your point?

      Hint: Despite the liberal canard that “without gun control, people would own FLAMETHROWERS”– few states have any restrictions on the ownership of flame throwers and there’s no federal restriction whatsoever.

      So what’s the point?

      1. It was just kind of a joke Paul (re:Austin Powers). I’m pretty libertarian on gun control…

        1. Sorry, MNG, I didn’t get it. Appreciated.

      2. Paul is correct. Growing up, we used flame throwers to burn weeds out of the irrigation ditches. 14 and carting around this burning machine setting fire to the countryside. There were less regulations on those than there were the guns!

    2. “if I want to put a freaking lazer on my shark what level of scrutiny would a law barring that be subject to?”

      You win the internets.

  19. Here’s hoping that the courts will not make hash of the Second Amandment in the same way that they have regarding the First Amendment. Time, place and manner regulations of keeping and bearing firearms, anyone? Requiring a license to keep and bear arms, so long as the licensing critera are objective and mandatory and the opportunity for judicial review is “prompt”? Give me a break.

    And don’t get me started on the so-called “secondary effects” legal fiction. Can a local government restrict firearms to certain zoning classifications, thus excluding them from residential neighborhoods?

    All of the above-mentioned restrictions have routinely been upheld under, over First Amendment objections, where intermediate scrutiny has been applied to the sale/dissemination of non-obscene pornographic materials. Intermediate scrutiny is a joke.

    1. Urbina’s application of intermediate scrutiny in this case amounts to asking whether D.C. officials claim to have good reasons for their regulations.

      Name one government official who proposed a regulation who didn’t think there was a good reason for it.

    2. Dude, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Prior to Heller we would;nt be talking about this. A fair amount of restrictions on gun ownership and bearing are going to go down in the next few years, let’s be happy about that.

      1. Some of us are not interested in waiting.

    3. The porno thing kills me, some of our currency once had “porno” on it, “porno” has been on the walls of many of our capital buildings.

      My God what a bunch of pussies we turned out to be, who would have ever imagined when we had started out so well.

    4. Here’s hoping that the courts will not make hash of the Second Amandment in the same way that they have regarding the First Amendment

      Hope (or wish) in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

  20. For example, a rifle is prohibited if it accepts a detachable magazine (as all semiautomatic rifles, with a few obscure exceptions, do)

    What kinda Texan are ya Sullum? Despite the popularity of the Ruger 10/22 and other detachable mag rimfires, most semi-auto .22s in existence are tube-fed.

    1. …not to mention M1 Garand.

      Or an SKS.

      1. The M1 Garand actually used a clip as opposed to a box magazine.

        1. I believe there is a world of difference (in legalese, anyways) between a “detachable magazine” and an “en-bloc clip”.

    2. There’s more than a few .22s that accept detachable magazines, you are right though many are tube feed, and many are single shot. But generally, many larger caliber rifles such as the model 700 mentioned above do accept detachable magazines.

  21. It should be noted that racial segregation in public schools existed in Washington, D.C., until 1954.

    D.C. is one place hostile to constitutional protections.

    1. are so fucked Doomed I tell ya.

  22. There are also very few drive-by bayonettings, drive-by thumbhole-stock-ings and drive-by flash-hidings.

  23. And really, there isn’t a need to define infringe – it’s a pretty well-understood word.

    When I take you out in the surrey with … infringe on top!

  24. Stupid fetuses.

  25. What’s funny about all this is DC has one of the highest murder rates in the USA and strict gun control. Where I now live practically every single home without exception has numerous rifles (including so called assault rifles) and pistols, silencers are even legal here, and there has’t been a murder or violent crime in the eight going on nine years I’ve lived here.

  26. Intermediate scrutiny on an amendment with the phrase, “shall not be infringed”!? That would be further evidence of the corruption in our courts.

    Of course, thus far the courts haven’t even mentioned the “shall not be infringed” component of the right. Wonder why?

  27. The unwillingness of the courts to engage the question of what constitutes an infringement is absolutely criminal.

    Both levels of scrutiny look at the governmental interest, which is completely backward. Whether a right is infringed or not has nothing to do with the reasons advanced by the government for restricting it; it has to do with the scope of the right itself.

  28. A fair amount of restrictions on gun ownership and bearing are going to go down in the next few years, let’s be happy about that.

    DC’s current gun controls are about the strictest around. If they survive, then we won’t be seeing much of anything struck down.

  29. I work in DC, but I live in America, across the river. I fear the influx of morons, who have already taken over No.VA, may affect our laws. So far, even Democrats need to be pro-gun to get elected in the state, but it would be nice if this was all put to bed by a nice reversal of Urbina’s nonsensical decision.

  30. Wait, does this mean my Callahan Fullbore Autolock aint legal?

    http://www.urbanchant.com/alice_/photos/final_alice5.jpg

    Awww.

  31. If a pro-gun legislature had done fact finding and a liberal judge wanted to review the facts for himself, does anyone think this author would really say, “Yes! That’s the way!”?

    If people in DC want to live with fewer hardcore guns, let them. And if people in Texas want more, let them.

    Just be consistent. That’s one of the few things the separates libertarianism from the parties. Don’t lose that.

  32. This is what p***es me off the most about this judge:

    Urbina’s application of intermediate scrutiny in this case amounts to asking whether D.C. officials claim to have good reasons for their regulations. He is not at all skeptical of their assertion that the District’s complicated, frustrating, time-consuming requirements for gun ownership, which he notes “are more burdensome than those of most cities and states,” will promote public safety. Likewise, he uncritically accepts the District’s claims that “assault weapons are disproportionately likely to be used by criminals” and “are not generally recognized as particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes,” even though Heller refuted both of those assertions. Because the D.C. Council “held extensive hearings and heard from numerous witnesses,” Urbina is not interested in considering the evidence on these issues.

    He rubberstamp’s the DC council’s BS without any skeptical inquiry whatsoever.

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