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DC Gun ban struck down (update)
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 09, 2007

Ok, then ... I knew I'd find something of real interest today:
A U.S. appeals court struck down a three-decade-old District of Columbia law that bans residents from keeping a handgun in their homes, saying the Constitution's Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington also threw out a district law requiring registered firearms to be kept disassembled or under trigger lock.

It's the first time a federal appeals court has struck down a gun-control measure on Second Amendment grounds. Nelson Lund, a constitutional law professor at George Mason University in neighboring Virginia, said an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is ``very likely.''

``This is clearly an extremely significant ruling,'' Lund said. ``The District of Columbia had some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country.''
Yes this is an extremely significant case since the courts have avoided addressing gun laws in reference to the 2nd Amendment. This one cited it specifically and used it as the basis for turning over the gun ban cited. If it goes to the USSC, they will also have to address any appeal, if they accept it, on that basis.

Think they'll just let it stand? If so, what's that say for gun bans in the rest of the country (such as NY)?
The Supreme Court hasn't taken up a case directly addressing the Second Amendment in almost 70 years and has avoided several opportunities to do so, according to Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University in New York.

``The court may be more willing to take up this case now than 20 years ago,'' when the issue was more controversial, Johnson said in an interview. ``There has been a massive and dramatic shift'' in political sentiment away from gun control, he said.
Looking forward to this one.

UPDATE: Billy Beck points out the most stunning and, frankly, encouraging part of this ruling. Quoting the majority opinion:
"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution..."
Can you say, "inalienable right?"
 
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This can’t be good, expect violence to SKYROCKET in D.C. if folks can start carrying weapons....oh wait....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Utterly astounding. I had no hope for anything like this, and the truth is that I am not encouraged, for old and honorable reasons. (e.g. — "Why do you think they call ’em ’opinions’, dummy?")

Here is something very interesting to me, though, from the majority opinion:

"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution..."

(whack)

I wonder how many here can sort out the necessary implication of something like that.

I’ve been saying it forever.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution..."
Stunning and, frankly, wonderful to see.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m sitting here reading the ruling. Wow. Would be nice if the SC heard it and upheld it, but I have my doubts. A great sign, tho’.
 
Written By: Crusader
URL: http://www.coalitionoftheswilling.net/
I’m sitting here reading the ruling. Wow. Would be nice if the SC heard it and upheld it, but I have my doubts. A great sign, tho’.

Why would SCOTUS not uphold it? They may AVOID it or find in favour of the gun rights people WITHOUT addressing the issue, a popular thing to do these days, but I’m not sure that a court is automatically going to uphold gun control.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Can’t tell you just what it’s like to be reading this in DC. Warms the heart.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Well Bryan, they’re still upholding their law according to the spokesperson for the city. So unless you have a permit to carry your gun from the bedroom to the study (I mean, how absolutely stupid did this have to get before it was challenged?) don’t go arming any bears just yet.

I think it’s safe to say this is headed to the SC.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
looker,

Doesn’t this mean that courts will not prosecute, and if they do the district court WILL overturn?

Gun owners could clog up the city PDs with free "get out of jail" cards.

I don’t see why this has to go to the SC (except to bring the district courts into agreement, which I hope means telling the 9th circus how wrong it is).

By the way, ar15.com has a good discussion of this.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I think slightly more dampened enthusiasm is in order since this ruling only clarifies constitutional issues for a lower court and allows a case on the matter to proceed, so this isn’t resolved yet. A Supreme Court case seems possible and would be quite dramatic as it could mean the incorporation of the second amendment. This is perhaps lamentable from a rigidly federalist position as it would entail the removal of a power from a state, but I think that the general expansion of liberties is an acceptable reason for such.

Intriguingly, Matthew Yglesias not only approves of the likely consequences of any repeal, but is poised to take advantage of it.
 
Written By: Paludicola
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
If the Supremes let this stand, expect NO major change in NYC or Chicago. If it’s upheld, those city’s bans are doomed, but I doubt they’ll strike down much else. The main impact will be on political rhetoric, as the gun-grabbers will no longer be able to claim there is no Second Amendment to reckon with.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
There’s some really wonderful language in the opinion.
Even if “keep” and “bear” are not read as a unitary term, we are told, the meaning of “keep” cannot be broader than “bear” because the Second Amendment only protects the use of arms in the course of militia service. Id. at 26-27. But this proposition assumes its conclusion, and we do not take it seriously.
The argument that “keep” as used in “the right of the people to keep . . . Arms” shares a military meaning with “keep up” as used in “every state shall keep up a well regulated militia” mocks usage, syntax, and common sense. Such outlandish views are likely advanced because the plain meaning of “keep” strikes a mortal blow to the collective right theory.
I loved this passage:
The Amendment does not protect “the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,” but rather “the right of the people.” The operative clause, properly read, protects the ownership and use of weaponry beyond that needed to preserve the state militias. Again, we point out that if
the competent drafters of the Second Amendment had meant the right to be limited to the protection of state militias, it is hard to imagine that they would have chosen the language they did. We therefore take it as an expression of the drafters’ view that the people possessed a natural right to keep and bear arms, and that the preservation of the militia was the right’s most salient political benefit—and thus the most appropriate to express in a political document.
Then there’s this from the Brady Campaign:
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a Washington advocacy group, said in a statement the decision ``is judicial activism at its worst.’’

``Two federal judges have negated the democratically expressed will of the people of the District of Columbia,’’ Helmke said.
That’s just a flatly ridiculous comment to make in light of the pages and pages and pages the Court dedicated to a discussion of the Constitutional language and history. Hey, Paul, ever heard of that "supreme law of the land" thing?
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
Judicial activism? I gotta come down with you on this one too, McQ. You’re not so bad when the issue isn’t something to with war or American foreign policy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Call me cautiously optimistic.

Depending on how things work out, this could prove to be very good or very bad.

It the Supreme Court upholds this, how broadly will it be interpreted? If this were eventually to result in the National Firearms Act of 1934 being overturned, I have no doubt in my mind that things will turn out very badly for gun owners. If fully automatic weapons suddenly became legal, the public would support a constitutional amendment to prevent that and in effect kill the 2nd in its entirety.

Beware unintended consequences.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
This may be one small step for the second amendment, but it is no giant leap for gun owners. The gun grabbers have the money and political clout to fight this issue for many years. At the time of the amendments adoption every able bodied male was considered as part of the "militia" and expected to serve in times of crisis. Twentieth century court president has defined militia as an organized military force, and struck down the right for the individual. It will be difficult for SCOTUS to overturn that president.

Remember in the Legal world, words so not have a fixed meaning, as in Alice in Wonderland “Words mean exactly what I say they mean” said the Red Queen. Lawyers can make any word mean what they want them to. This will be in the courts for a long time, unfortunately the decision applies only to the District of Columbia. More Liberal Courts such as the 9th circuit are sure to rule the words militia allow the prohibition of individual ownership can be legislated.

SCOTUS will try to avoid this "hot potato" for as longas possable, waiting to see which way the political winds are blowing.

If guns are allowed in DC, don’t expect much change, it’s a war zone now. At least the honest citizens will be allowed the firepower to fight back. I would expect the courts to uphold the ban on fully automatic guns. If not it will give ammunition to the gun banners, but studies show an armed populice lowers crime in all it’s form.

It is a time to rejoice, at least one appeals court has finely agreed with the original meaning of the amendment.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
I have this urge to check out talk.politics.guns and see what’s been posted. must... resist... urge... to.... lurk....

 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
I have no doubt in my mind that things will turn out very badly for gun owners. If fully automatic weapons suddenly became legal, the public would support a constitutional amendment to prevent that and in effect kill the 2nd in its entirety.

Beware unintended consequences.
Buck Up Rosensteel, unintended consequences are INEVITABLE. If we don’t act because bad things might happen we’ll never act. What if you have gangrene, shoud the Dr.’s operate, BUT if they do you might die on the table OR your spouse will leave you because now you’re a hideous amputee OR or any number of things, but it’s still better to get the treatment...let tomorrow take care of tomorrow.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The NRA hates "bad cases" that make "bad law." This case was neither.

I’m sure NRA board and membership have a smile on their faces today.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
On Thursday I corresponded with a good friend in Maryland who is working had to prevent a sweeping state gun ban from passing. Then I spent some time in the evening reading HR1022, which effectively bands all semi-automatic, so needless to say I was fairly depressed as I drove into work on Friday. I tried to think of another Right that is under so much pressure and attack. This attack comes from a position that simply ignores the facts surrounding the 2nd amendment and its authors. If you are uncertain what the 2nd Amendment mean, take a look at the Virginia Constitution. It was written in the same era by some of the same individuals. Anyway, I was just delighted to read this ruling Friday night. Finally someone on the bench got it exactly right.
 
Written By: George
URL: http://

 
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