Gun Control

D.C. Asks Federal Court to Erase Second Amendment Opinion Recognizing Right to Carry

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Back in July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down Washington, D.C.'s ban on carrying handguns in public. Pointing to the Supreme Court's recent Second Amendment jurisprudence, the district court observed, "there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore," the district court held in Palmer v. D.C., "the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional."

On Monday the D.C. government filed a new motion with that same court, asking for a reconsideration of the July ruling "because of a number of errors of law." According to D.C., the district court erred both by showing too little deference to local gun control laws and by holding that the right to carry arms in public falls within the scope of the Second Amendment in the first place. "The Court unnecessarily determined that the right to carry a handgun in public is at the core of the Second Amendment, and failed to consider both the historical pedigree of prohibitions on public carrying and the District's important justifications for its prohibition," the city's motion for reconsideration asserts.

It's a weak ploy. Like it or not, Judge Frederick Scullin's opinion in Palmer v. D.C. is a careful piece of work. There's nothing in it that rises to the level of "errors of law." The District of Columbia should face legal reality and stop trying to dodge the Second Amendment.

For more on D.C.'s gun control regime, see Reason TV's "Girls, Guns, and the Problem with D.C. Firearm Laws."

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  1. Like it or not, Judge Frederick Scullin’s opinion in Palmer v. D.C. is a careful piece of work. There’s nothing in it that rises to the level of “errors of law.” The District of Columbia should face legal reality and stop trying to dodge the Second Amendment

    So long as one private citizen not among the chosen class owns a weapon*, they will never give up.

    *including sticks, rocks, knives, forks and spoons.

  2. The District of Columbia should face legal reality….

    Hi, Damon, you must be new here.

  3. and by holding that the right to carry arms in public falls within the scope of the Second Amendment in the first place.

    WTF?

    1. They feel that the “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” does not include Bearing Arms in Public. After all, that just wouldn’t be subservient enough.

      1. They could cite Drake v. Jerejian where the Supremes let stand the 3rd Circuit’s ruling that prohibiting ordinary citizens from bearing arms does not burden the right to bear arms.

        1. Citing a denial of cert? Sure, if you want to get disbarred for incompetence.

          1. No, citing Drake.

            1. Drake is a justifiable need. DC can’t cite Drake while having a blanket ban. I was granted a carry in NYC while living here due to testimony I gave ten years before and which still constitutes a threat to me. there are thousands of DC residents who could meet that test. A domestic partner threat is enough to meet it in every state with “may issue”

        2. DC cannot cite Drake. Drake is about degree. DC has an outright ban

  4. … the District’s important justifications for its prohibition…

    “The Constitution may expressly allow it, but we don’t want it!”

    1. Should be, “the District’s impotent justifications.”

  5. “The Court unnecessarily determined that the right to carry a handgun in public is at the core of the Second Amendment…”

    Translation: When the 2A says “bear arms” it means the “frontal legs of mammals of the family Ursidae.”

    1. So it’s a typo. “Keep and bear arms” was supposed to be “keep bear arms,” which has nothing to do with weapons at all. Unless you want to use one of those bear arms as a club.

  6. The District? Face reality? When did THAT ever happed?

  7. The District cited the “FYTW” and “Don’t You Know Who We Are” clauses of Article LCXVII of the Constitution…

    1. No, it’s article 0, -1, or i, possibly all of them.

  8. Now if only the SCOTUS would slap New Jersey into line with the second amendment and the rest of the country.

  9. The totemic importance of guns to certain types (politicians and cops especially) is so explicitly shown here. Guns are now, for them, a symbol of power, and being able to own and carry them is a symbol of the powerful, which is why the powerful in DC are fighting tooth and nail to not allow the peons to have or carry guns. You’d think they’d shrug, go “ok, we lost” and move on to something else. But no. They cannot relinquish their totems, and cannot abide the thought of the peasants having them.

  10. You’d think they’d shrug, go “ok, we lost” and move on to something else.

    So long as Drake stands why should they accept defeat? They could always use that as precedent to impose a NJ-style “justifiable need” restriction resulting in de-facto carry prohibition.

    1. Nope. Tens of thousand in NY meet drake requirements, thousands in DC would.

      If you know Jersey, even with Drake when you file an applies on denial you will win if here are any threats to you.

      If DC goes with Drake style they are going to have thousands of carriers

  11. failed to consider both the historical pedigree of prohibitions on public carrying

    Does DC mean the historic bans on blacks bearing arms?

    1. Yeah, I don’t think the banners should really want a close examination of the history of gun control laws.

      “Hey, look, those laws that were passed and enforced for decades as part of Jim Crow give us the historical pedigree to insulate them from Constitutional scrutiny!”

  12. Man, letting DC pols loose working on “law” is like handing a 9 year old a loaded Uzi.

    /too soon?

  13. As I recall, Scalia’s opinion held that self defense is at the core of the Second Amendment. That always struck me as the wedge. If I have a right to self defense in my home, don’t I have the same right outside my home. Yes, yes I do as a matter of law. So an outright ban cannot stand. After that we move on to overtly onerous and costly licensing schemes. Then confusing and patchwork restrictions on where one may carry. Somewhere in there is national reciprocity…don’t I have right to self defense when I travel away from home ? Even more so when I am in unfamiliar territory and may stumble into danger.

  14. The interesting argument is that D.C. is a uniquely sensitive place where there is a capital and first residence and government offices and monuments and other special stuff.

    Like there aren’t fifty state capitals with the same stuff.

  15. “The Court unnecessarily determined that the right to carry a handgun in public is at the core of the Second Amendment…”

    “If you just hadn’t gone and done that we could have kept ignoring that old Constitution and kept our gun laws.”

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