Currently Browsing: 2nd Amendment

DC Still Presses for More Time

The District of Columbia wanted to keep their ban on carry by law-abiding citizens. The court said no. Then, DC said they needed 180 days. The court said that 90 days was plenty. Despite the fact that the sky did not actually fall during the couple of days of lawful carry, DC is still spending their time begging the courts for more time to decide how they can most restrict individual rights.

AWB Upheld: This is Unfortunately Becoming Unsurprising

A federal judge has upheld the Maryland assault weapons ban that was passed in the wake of Sandy Hook.

Blake, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, wrote that she was not convinced that assault rifles such as the AR-15 are used regularly for self-defense. She wrote that they seemed to be “military style weapons designed for offensive use.”

Blake did not rule on whether the weapons or magazines are protected by the Second Amendment. But even if they are, she wrote, the bans are a legitimate way for the state to enhance public safety.

The law “seeks to address a serious risk of harm to law enforcement officers and the public from the greater power to injure and kill presented by assault weapons and large capacity magazines,” she wrote.

Of course, we’ve seen Bush appointees rule this way too, so this isn’t meant to single out Clinton appointees. I should again emphasize how much judges are culturally skittish of gun rights. Gun rights are a movement of ordinary people. Elites have never liked the peasantry to be will armed. Nontheless, we usually lose in district court. Some of our best victories have been disasters in federal district court. So we will appeal, and press on.

Call 911 for Medical Help, Get Arrested

What if someone stabs you in the neck in your own home? You might call 911 for assistance, right? Well, doing that will end up with the police breaking open your gun safe in New Jersey – just so they can see if you have anything they can nab you on, rather than the person who assaulted you.

That’s just what happened when a man called 911 after his wife stabbed him in the neck. They police demanded that he open the safes so they could remove his securely stored firearms. He didn’t cooperate, so they called in a crew to force them open and then arrested him for having too much black powder and ammunition, according to the article. The police also admit that they aren’t closely cataloging the guns, just tossing them in barrels and they’ll get around to it later.

Missouri Ballot Initiative Pays Off

Ballot initiatives are risky things. In the end, Missouri’s gamble on strengthening their constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms paid off with a final result of 61%-39%.

However, that still shows that upwards of 40% of the voters in a primary election in what is perceived to be a red state were opposed to protecting the right to bear arms.

Ballotpedia notes that the new amendment makes the following changes:

Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.

According to their late July tallies of spending by advocates and opponents, Bloomberg’s new group alone spent more than the pro-gun side, but still lost.

DC Gets 90 Days

We knew the District of Columbia would likely file for a stay to the ruling allowing carry, and they did yesterday near the close of business. This morning, the federal judge granted it, but only for 90 days instead of the requested 180 days. This is one reason most people were urging folks not to carry in DC while this case in process.

It will be interesting to see what happens come October 22 – the deadline. It’s clear that the DC police proved they could come up with a somewhat workable policy on the fly with multiple memos that covered most situations for lawful carry. I see no reason why the DC City Council can’t come up with a clearer policy similar to the Police Chief’s in 90 days – assuming they don’t just appeal this and hope for more favorable decisions.

The DC Firearms Carry Memo

Alan Gura posted the memo that went out the DC police officers about how to handle carry situations. He specifically posts this important detail with the memo:

The District has indicated that they will seek a stay of the decision. If a stay were to be granted, this policy would doubtless change, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to update this blog post in real time. So be careful out there.

Looking at the memo and the scenarios they outline, it does appear that anyone caught carrying will have all of their information taken down and the police will pursue “potential further investigation” even if they are perfectly lawful to carry at the time they stop you.

Carrying in DC

Well, we’re to Monday morning and it appears there’s no change in the situation from Saturday evening when it comes to the Washington, DC gun situation. In fact, last night Emily Miller was reporting on Twitter that the DC police have apparently conceded on the carry issue for the time being.

Dave Kopel notes that before you strap a gun on your hip and head into DC, you should probably try to find out more about this very fluid situation.

As of 1:30 a.m. ET on Monday morning, I was not able to find a copy of Chief Lanier’s order on the websites of the D.C. Police, D.C. Attorney General, or city government. It would be helpful for non-residents who seek to comply with the D.C. government’s interpretation of the current situation if the order were speedily made available to the public.

And he also reminds people that there are many laws on the books that were not invalidated by the court.

Nothing in the District Court’s opinion invalidates the D.C. ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Nothing in the opinion addresses the numerous federal and D.C. laws which prohibit carry in a huge number of locations within the District–such as most federal buildings, lots of federal property, as well as schools and colleges. (The D.C. “school” ban even encompasses a school of cosmetology whose students are all adults.)

Win in Palmer vs. DC!

Via Alan Gura, who is the attorney for the case. This was the case challenging the District of Colombia’s ban on carrying firearms in public, that the court had been sitting on for quite some time. The court left the door open for some regulation of carry, including licensing, but “consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Needless to say, this is a significant win. Probably the most significant win since Illinois was forced to become shall-issue in the case of Moore v. Madigan. Hopefully this will strengthen the hand of Congress when it comes to setting the Districts gun laws for it, and then preempting City Council from regulating firearms.

A quick way to fix this problem would be to recognize licenses to carry from all states that issue them. I believe D.C. residents can obtain licenses from Virginia, which would probably do until D.C. sets up its own shall-issue regime.

A bigger question is whether this case will go to the Supreme Court or not. The Court hasn’t seemed eager to hear a carry case, but maybe this will be the one. If this does go to SCOTUS and wins, that would apply to the whole country.

UPDATE: It’s been so long since Palmer was heard, I forgot it was still at the District Court level, and not the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. So the next step is the Circuit Court, not the Supreme Court.

Winning with a Case Dismissal

From NRA today:

Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association (NRA) sponsored litigation against the state of Illinois for its unconstitutional system of denying concealed carry licenses without any notice or opportunity to be heard. Before the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed suit with NRA backing, many residents were denied the right to carry a firearm without any indication as to why the state had concluded they were a danger to themselves or others. Furthermore, the state of Illinois also denied these individuals any opportunity to rebut this unsubstantiated conclusion.

The ISRA, with the backing of the NRA, challenged this scheme as a violation of due process, and the State effectively conceded as much by ending this unfair treatment of law-abiding Illinois citizens. In light of this act of submission by Illinois, the current suit has been voluntarily dismissed.

Judge Upholds Colorado’s Gun Laws

Given what I had heard about the trial, and the fact that the judge seemed to be a gun owner, I was optimistic that maybe this case wouldn’t end up being the typical District Court loss, but that would appear not to be the case. Grab your partner, gather round, and dance the intermediate scrutiny two-step on more time! Now granted, in the realm of Second Amendment opinions, I’ve read worse. I’ve actually read far worse, unfortunately. But I’m tired of this right being treated like the crazy uncle in the attic of American rights by judges. You don’t get to do that. The footnotes in this case are particularly tough to stomach:

The M-16 rifle mentioned by the Court is a military version of the AR-15 rifle, a rifle that several witnesses in this case testified that they possess for their own self-defense purposes. If, as Heller implies, the M-16 rifle can legally be prohibited without violating the Second Amendment, it seems to follow that other weapons such as the AR-15 may also be prohibited, notwithstanding the fact that some individuals believe that such weapon is important, or even essential, to their self-defense.

The M16 is a machine gun, Judge. The AR-15 is not. The AR-15 functions entirely differently. I don’t think that can just be glossed over so casually. Would it be legal to ban any firearm that has a military full-auto equivalent? Even the Browning BAR hunting rifle is based on a full-auto, military design. There’s a military version of the Glock pistol, and the Beretta pistol. This is poor reasoning.

After that, there’s this footnote about the paradox of better-trained users needing less rounds in a magazine:

There is a curious paradox here: the more competent the defensive firearm user, the more likely he or she is to hit her target with fewer shots, and thus, the less likely that user is to need a large-capacity magazine for defensive purposes. By contrast, the less competent or confident the user, the greater the number of rounds the user perceives he or she needs. One wonders how these perceptions are affected by exposure to military grade weaponry in news and entertainment.

What she doesn’t understand is that the dirty little secret is a big reason that cops almost universally carry large caps these days is because they need them, often due to poor firearms training. There is honestly no argument here that applies to civilians is not equally or more applicable to cops. Courts should not overlook police use in these cases. If magazines holding more than X rounds are routinely issued to officers, then they should be protected arms for civilians as well. End of analysis. We should not require civilian firearms owners and carriers to be trained gun ninjas, while we allow police officers to roam the streets with firearms, many of whom get no more practice in than their yearly qualifications.

The judge read the Americans with Disabilities Act narrowly in considering the ADA claims in the suit, arguing that because the laws didn’t create any particular government service that discriminated against the disabled, the ADA was no obstacle to the law. The claim seems to be that the ADA doesn’t apply to laws that discriminate against the disabled, only services. I don’t know enough about the ADA to comment on this.

This judge was a George W. Bush appointee. It was apparent during the trial she knew something about guns, and there seem to be evidence to believe she may actually own one. But this shows how utterly hostile the ruling class is to civilians being well-armed, and at least as well-armed as the police. I’m sure this will be appealed, but I am not optimistic. I’m afraid the only way Coloradans are getting rid of these new laws is to repeal them. The courts cannot be counted on to give meaningful relief for infringements on this fundamental right. The refusal of the Supreme Court to hear any further cases on the matter will only embolden lower courts in their efforts to marginalize the right. The Second Amendment is to remain the crazy uncle in the attic of the Bill of Rights for the foreseeable future.

As always, I encourage everyone to read the opinion. It is important for every Americans to understand how much judges do not care for this right, and do not care to treat it seriously. The only way we win is by punishing anti-gun politicians and electing pro-gun politicians. Everything else is window dressing.

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