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DC Gun Ban Executed By SCOTUS

By Greg L | 26 June 2008 | National Politics | 18 Comments

As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment of the Constitution is an individual right and upheld a previous ruling that said that the gun ban in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional.  Now that we’ve dispensed with the utter folly of the idea that “the right of the people” somehow means military and quasi-military organizations under the control of government, the debate now moves to what “shall not be infringed” actually means.  The court didn’t tackle that question, saying that it was permissible to require licensing and registration, which would seem to indicate that “shall not be infringed” is interpreted to mean “may be infringed” as long as government can explain why it is doing so.  Also, while the court supported the right to “keep” firearms, it doesn’t seem that the question of when citizens may exercise their rights to “bear” them was addressed.

SCOTUSBlog has details, as well as a link to the decision.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), the Court nullified two provisions of the city of Washington’s strict 1976 gun control law: a flat ban on possessing a gun in one’s home, and a requirement that any gun — except one kept at a business — must be unloaded and disassembled or have a trigger lock in place.  The Court said it was not passing on a part of the law requiring that guns be licensed.  It said that issuing a license to a handgun owner, so the weapon can be used at home, would be a sufficient remedy for the Second Amendment violation of denying any access to a handgun.

Still, this is a huge victory that may sweep away pretty draconian restrictions of the right to keep and bear arms in some non-trivial places in America, particularly a number of large crime-infested cities.  The case also will serve as a springboard for other cases to be brought that will clarify the aspects of the Second Amendment that the Supreme Court didn’t address this time around.  With enough licensing and regulation burdens, it’s pretty easy for a government to effectively prohibit firearm ownership within their jurisdiction in the same way that the State of Maryland effectively prohibits concealed carry in Maryland by making the process of obtaining a permit so arbitrary and ridiculous that only the political elite can obtain them.

We made a lot of progress today on the long road to restore civil rights to the American people that have been usurped by their government.  There’s a lot more road to travel here, but we haven’t made this kind of progress in almost a century.

UPDATE: Perhaps one of the more intriguing questions about this ruling, which hasn’t received much discussion, is whether the federal government can ban the possession of firearms on public lands such as Wildlife refuges and National Parks.  Although a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is working its way through the system to allow such possession, this ruling may simply preempt federal agencies other than law enforcement agencies and the Department of Defense from imposing such rules.  If handgun possession cannot be abridged (subject to reasonable regulation) in the District of Columbia, it similarly could not be abridged in a National Park, one would think.

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  1. Rick Bentley said on 26 Jun 2008 at 11:37 am:
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    This seems like a no-brainer. And the vote was 5-4.

    The court is as polarized and political as the rest of America. It’s hard to respect this process.

  2. Johnson said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:20 pm:
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    The pendulum is definitely swinging back to the conservative side.

    Nice taco truck, Greg. How about “Juanson’s” illegal alien taquiera?

  3. starryflights said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:51 pm:
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    Today is a good day!

  4. Grey of Snout said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:53 pm:
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    Freedom Lives.

    Citizens are armed.

    Subjects are unarmed.

  5. Johnson said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:03 pm:
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    Our disconnected “representatives” in all levels of our government should sit up and pay heed: we are sick of your elitist, “nanny” attitude. We the PEOPLE will decide what’s best for us, and it’s turning out that it’s NOT YOU!

    We will uphold our right to defend ourselves.

    We will force you to do your duty and protect us from illegal aliens and those who would harm us.

    Remember, you were elected. It’s not an entitlement. Do your job or go back to being a lawyer.

  6. Not Russ Moulton said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:13 pm:
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    Decision is minimalist 2nd amendment CRAP.

    They can’t outright ban my guns, but they can regulate the hell out of them and me. Gee thanks Antonin.

  7. BattleCat said on 26 Jun 2008 at 1:37 pm:
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    This is quite a blow to Fenty the Clown. He ordered 1000 cases of “Bill of Rights” Toilet Paper to use in DC Government offices. Now he’s stuck with it!

  8. MdMan said on 26 Jun 2008 at 2:58 pm:
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    It is distressing how perilously close we came to having the second amendment gutted from the bench. One vote the other way and a big chunk of our liberty is stolen by the liberals, and that would have been just the begginning.

    Should that have happened, the only alternative for The People to preserve this liberty under the new errenous interpretation would be to actually form militias. Think about that for a minute.

    Folks, this uncivil idealogical war between right (conservatives) and wrong (liberals) is close to boiling over. The liberals are waging an assault against the traditional conservative principals of this country and we can’t let them win. An Obama victory, or worse an attempt on his life, and things could get out of hand quickly. Be prepared.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  9. MdMan said on 26 Jun 2008 at 3:02 pm:
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    Another qoute by Mr. Jefferson:

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  10. Johnson said on 26 Jun 2008 at 4:39 pm:
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    One of my favorites by TJ is:

    As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.


    TJ is my favorite founding father. Given the state of modern professional athletics, I like the “games played with the ball” statement.

  11. Taco Truck Ted Tickled Pink said on 26 Jun 2008 at 4:50 pm:
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    Johnson said on 26 Jun 2008 at 12:20 pm:
    The pendulum is definitely swinging back to the conservative side.

    Nice taco truck, Greg. How about “Juanson’s” illegal alien taquiera?

    Me So Happy! Free tacos for everbody!

  12. es_la_ley said on 26 Jun 2008 at 7:05 pm:
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    The ruling is well worth the read if you can find the time (157 pages - link below).

    Scalia, writing for the majority, took the dissenting opinions to task, at one point referring to one of Steven’s arguments as “worthy of the mad hatter”. :-)


  13. Anchor Baby said on 26 Jun 2008 at 7:14 pm:
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    It’s ironic that you bring up that statement from Jefferson. Jefferson was the father (if you will) of today’s democratic party. How further from his vision could they have gone then wanting gun bans. It makes no sense at all.

    If nothing else, the democrats should ADVOCATE for individual gun ownership to protect themselves from authoritative republican rule.

    But, I’ve seen stranger things.

    I’m thankful that the majority of the Justices believe that I have a right to gun ownership. And, its good to know that they support that constitutional right. However, our ‘rights’ are derived by our Creator (or lack of if you swing that way) and not by the Constitution. They’re just enshrined in that beautiful document.

  14. es_la_ley said on 26 Jun 2008 at 7:48 pm:
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    Anchor Baby said on 26 Jun 2008 at 7:14 pm:

    However, our ‘rights’ are derived by our Creator (or lack of if you swing that way) and not by the Constitution. They’re just enshrined in that beautiful document.

    Further… the Bill of Rights doesn’t give you any rights. They exist to prevent the government from taking them away!

  15. Anchor Baby said on 26 Jun 2008 at 8:16 pm:
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    Amen es_la_ley, amen.

  16. Red Dawn said on 26 Jun 2008 at 8:28 pm:
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    es_la_ley & Anchor Baby,

    For the FIRST time in a long time,with the exchange between the both of you, I feel patriotic and proud, all is not lost :)

  17. Anonymous said on 26 Jun 2008 at 8:28 pm:
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    I am just clinging to my gun, wondering when they will get to have a big gun show downtown.

  18. Johnson said on 27 Jun 2008 at 1:46 pm:
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    The WashPo and WashTimes both had big pictures of Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier, each of whom were sporting a lower lip that seemed to be dragging the ground. These petulent children act as if the sky was falling. What did they expect? Fenty should never have appealed the ruling. Now D.C. is a nationwide joke once again. Liberals don’t want to do the right thing, that’s too hard. They want to feel warm and fuzzy and not hold people responsible for their actions. Blame the Guns!!

    The next lawsuit should be for concealed carry. Jim Webb has one! :-)

    One by one, all of the big city handgun restrictions will fall.

    Wouldn’t be a bad time for a D.C. Resident to get their Federal Firearms License.

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