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Future historians will undoubtedly note two great ironies of the leftmost administration since Lyndon Johnson: that President Obama’s tenure coincided with (1) massive increases in domestic fossil fuel production and (2) historic expansions of the Second Amendment.
The latest incident happened on Monday, when U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. issued a preliminary injunction against Washington DC’s may-issue rules for concealed carry permits. Under the rules formerly in place, residents had to show not only that they had generally good reasons to wish to protect themselves, but positive proof that they had been specifically threatened:
A person shall demonstrate a good reason to fear injury to his or her person by showing a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life. 24 D.C.M.R. § 2333.1
For the purposes of satisfying the specifications of § 2333.1, a person shall allege, in writing, serious threats of death or serious bodily harm, any attacks on his or her person, or any theft of property from his or her person. The person shall also allege that the threats are of a nature that the legal possession of a pistol is necessary as a reasonable precaution against the apprehended danger. 24 D.C.M.R. § 2333.2
The person shall provide all evidence of contemporaneous reports to the police of such threats or attacks, and disclose whether or not the applicant has made a sworn complaint to the police or the courts of the District of Columbia concerning any threat or attack. 24 D.C.M.R. § 2333.3
Mind you, this is the third time in recent years that the District’s anti-gun laws have been found to run afoul of the Constitution. In the famous Heller decision, the Supreme Court overturned DC’s handgun ban; a few years later, the city’s continued refusal to allow citizens to carry weapons outside their homes was found to be unacceptable, and its mayor and board were forced to come-up with some kind of CCW licensing scheme; now, the laws limiting the issuance of permits to only the most exacting circumstances — so much so that less than a dozen permits have been granted — have been overturned. As the NY Post noted, the Big Apple’s similarly-restrictive CCW laws may be next.
The courts will never be more than a fickle ally of liberty, but their decisions here against illiberal states and municipalities — and in favor of citizens’ liberty — have been heartening. No government — no matter how local — has the power to abridge its citizens’ constitutional rights.
Correction: the original version of this piece erroneously referred to the injunction as a ruling.