Guns

The District of Columbia vs. District of Columbia v. Heller

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The Washington Times editorializes against Washington, D.C.'s continuing refusal to respect the Second Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller:

In its ruling, the Supreme Court smacked down D.C. gun-control measures and reaffirmed the constitutional protection for the individual's right to own a handgun. Since then, the District has cooked up a labyrinth of pointless restrictions and rules crafted to ensure this fundamental right would rarely be exercised. The city may have gone a step too far, as it is now impossible for any law-abiding citizen to obtain a gun in the nation's capital.

That's because the District manipulated its zoning laws to ensure gun brokers would not be welcome. With no gun stores, the only way to obtain a pistol lawfully is to make a purchase in another state and have the gun shipped to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder in the District. A federal law prohibits acquisition of a firearm across state lines in any other way.

The lone FFL holder doing business in Washington recently lost his lease and can no longer perform such transfers.

As the editorial notes, the Second Amendment Foundation and victorious Heller and McDonald v. Chicago lead attorney Alan Gura brought suit against the District this week in order to set this ridiculous matter straight. Considering D.C.'s blatant disregard for the Second Amendment and Gura's impressive legal record on behalf of gun rights, I don't imagine this one will end very well for the District's Second Amendment opponents.

Read the full Washington Times editorial here. Read Reason's coverage of D.C. v. Heller here. Watch Gura talk gun rights with Reason.tv below.

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  1. If you don’t like guns, then don’t own one.

  2. God, guts and lawsuits keep America free.

  3. They just trying to continue their city’s freedom from gun violence.

  4. They just trying to continue their city’s freedom from gun violence freedom.

  5. I am interested to see where this discussion goes. This hits on an apparent weak point in libertarian theory, i.e., the formal recognition of a right but the practical prevention of the exercise of the right.

    Just for hypothetical purposes, would laws guaranteeing the right to practice one’s 2nd Amendment Rights (e.g., by guaranteeing the ability to purcahse weapons, etc.) be different in principle from the Civil Rights Act of 64? And in general, how far do we go not just in guaranteeing a right but in guaranteeing its practice?

    1. Just for hypothetical purposes, would laws guaranteeing the right to practice one’s 2nd Amendment Rights (e.g., by guaranteeing the ability to purcahse weapons, etc.) be different in principle from the Civil Rights Act of 64?

      That’s pretty easy.

      The Civil Rights act essentially created new rights that were beyond what the Constitution guarantees. The 14th Amendment does not outlaw private discrimination. If I call someone a racial epithet or refuse them service in my restaurant because of their skin color or gender, I am not violating their constitutional rights because I am not a government actor. Only the government can violate your constitutional rights.

      And D.C. does not have to pass laws “guaranteeing the right to practice” your Second Amendment rights. The 2A is that law. What D.C. has to do is not pass laws infringing upon it – which they have failed to do. The laws D.C. has enacted violate the 2A. If they want to ensure people can exercise their 2A rights, what they have to do is NOT pass such laws.

      1. In other words, the 14th Amendment guarantees that you will be treated equally by your state government. It does not guarantee that you will be treated equally by your fellow American citizens. Nothing in the Constitution does. Congress created the CRA `64 to try to make your fellow Americans treat you equally. The fact that the CRA exists is evidence of the federal government’s understanding that the Constitution does not guarantee a right against private discrimination. It would be unnecessary otherwise.

        Similarly, if I refuse to sell you a gun because I don’t like you or whatever, I’m not violating your Second Amendment rights. If the D.C. government enacts provisions that prevent you from owning or possessing a gun, assuming you are not otherwise prohibited from doing so for good reason, then D.C. is violating your 2A rights.

    2. No one is asking DC to open a gun shop…just demanding that they not use the law to prevent any gun shops from opening.

    3. I don’t see much weakness. If there are laws which prevent a right from being exercised, then those laws violate that right.

  6. Next they’ll follow Chicago’s path and just over regulate ammunition.

    http://www.intellectualtakeout…..-bear-arms

  7. I don’t even know why we even have a judiciary except maybe to get people divorced and settle contract claims. It isn’t like courts ever rule against the executive. And if the executive violates the law, it isn’t like the courts hold them accountable.

  8. I’m trying to imagine how a federal court would react to a private party thumbing it’s nose at the court’s decision like this.

    Why should DC be any different?

  9. I feel threatened.

    1. Are they coming right at you?

  10. This hits on an apparent weak point in libertarian theory, i.e., the formal recognition of a right but the practical prevention of the exercise of the right.

    I think its a point for the deep libertarians, who hold (more or less) that formal/legal structures “guaranteeing” freedom won’t work in a society that isn’t culturally very supportive of freedom.

    We used to have such a society. We don’t anymore. We still have the formal legal structure (the Constitution and BOR). You do the math.

    1. Freedom is hard. Other people, doing stuff that annoys me. There oughtta be a law, I say.

  11. I like visiting D.C. and checking out the monuments and museums, but I can’t for the life of me understand why one would subject one’s self to actually living under that shitty city government. Particularly when Virginia is a stone’s throw away. Of course, Arlington and environs is not what it once was, either.

  12. The lone FFL holder doing business in Washington recently lost his lease and can no longer perform such transfers.

    Passive voice strikes again.

    1. That’s not passive voice.

  13. How long before the federal courts start treating D.C. and Chicago like they treated the South when they kept trying underhanded methods to re-implement discriminatory policy. And what will the 2nd amendment version of forced busing be, I wonder?

  14. Get a “relic & curio” license and then you can receive your own firearm shipments form out of state, iirc.

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