Reason asks Alan Gura about positive developments that have happened since Heller, and he names three. There are still people in our movement who think Heller was an abject failure, and I continue to be amazed that reasonable people can continue believing this. We saw suburb after suburb near Chicago give up their local bans under threat of lawsuit, and we saw a the San Francisco housing authority cave in on their gun ban in public housing under threat of lawsuit.
First off we have Massachusetts talking about easing their discretionary licensing scheme,Â a major paper editorializing in favor of it, and a very good chance this will actually pass. In Massachusetts, you need police permission to even own a handgun, and that permission can be impossible to obtain if you have an anti-gun police chief in your town. Police chiefs have full discretion in regards to handgun ownership. Even New Jersey is at least technically shall-issue when it comes to pistol purchase permits. This measure is being pushed, and has a good chance for passage specifically because lawmakers in Massachusetts know that their licensing scheme won’t pass constitutional muster even under the relatively ill-defined standard of review in Heller.
That brings us again to Delaware, which apparently has a public housing ban. This topic is being covered well by the Caesar Rodney Institute blog, which is reporting that NRA is threatening Delaware state authorities with a lawsuit if they don’t relent on the “no guns” policy. You can see the demand letter written by Robert Dowlut, NRA General Counsel here. Note the following:
Article I, Â§ 20 of the Delaware Constitution guarantees that â€œA person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.â€ Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court inÂ District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008), held that the right to keep an operable firearm in the home for self-defense is a core right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Consequently, the court struck down a ban on the possession of handguns and a ban on the possession of operable firearms in the home.
Would we even be able to raise this if it wasn’t for Heller? Doubtful. I’d like to think we’re at a dawn of a pretty robust right to keep and bear arms, that will put the kibosh on the worst the states are able to do. I believe this will put our opponents in a pretty tough pickle, and while I’m not convinced gun control will ever really go away, we at least have an opportunity before us to deal its current incarnation a serious blow.