Another Win for the Second Amendment


shutterstock_166788203Future 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.

There are 9 comments.

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  1. skipsul Inactive

    There was another this week.  Since felons are forbidden from possessing firearms, what happens to your guns when you are convicted?  Well, until this case the FBI would seize them and you were out of luck.  You could not in any way legally transfer your guns to someone else.  So your property would be forfeit, even if said property was not at all involved in the crime of which you were convicted (in this case marijuana possession).

    This Supreme Court decision was unanimous – they agreed that you definitely have a right to sell your own property in order to comply with the law.

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  2. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.

    I agree that this is a very good thing, but isn’t it premature to say that the rules have been found to be unconstitutional? My understanding is that this is just a preliminary injunction, indicating a strong likelihood that the plaintiffs will prevail but not a guarantee that they will. Still, a big win.

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  3. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.:I agree that this is a very good thing, but isn’t it premature to say that the rules have been found to be unconstitutional? My understanding is that this is just a preliminary injunction, indicating a strong likelihood that the plaintiffs will prevail but not a guarantee that they will. Still, a big win.

    Curses and damnation. Correction made.

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  4. Larry3435 Member

    Ruling, injunction, whatever.  We will only know that D.C.’s efforts at gun control have truly been defeated when the murder rate drops by 70-80%

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  5. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio

    One of my biggest struggles as a conservative is squaring my love of the 2nd amendment with a proper understanding of federalism. I think it’s worth its own post maybe.

    I detest restrictive state gun laws, but at the same time I am uneasy with efforts like national concealed carry bills or the Supreme Court forcing states to loosen draconian gun laws. These are matters for states to decide. And nearly all of the positive advances in liberalization of laws have come at the state, not the federal level. The Court giveth and the Court taketh.

    It all boils down to whether or not one believes in incorporation of constitutional amendments. Is the Constitution only meant to restrict the federal government or are the amendments positive rights to be guaranteed for all time in all places?

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  6. Eeyore Member

    Byron, this is not a goad, but an honest question. Couldn’t this be compared to states deciding to create “whites only” public facilities?

    I can’t remember if it was after Heller or (I think it was) McDonald, a member of the D.C. City Council said something to the effect of “Supreme Court ruling? We don’t need no stinkin’ Supreme Court rulings! We’re going to  do everything we can within the ruling to make sure that it’s so hard to get a gun in D.C., you won’t even want to try…”

    The [very long] D.C. fight to a get a permit was cataloged in Emily Miller’s book Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours.

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  7. Devereaux Inactive

    I understand the temptation of incorporation to extend federal power.

    Yet in the case of the constitution, remember that the rule is  any powers not granted to the federal government, nor restricted to the states remains with the states OR the people.

    2A is clearly an amendment that reserves the right to keep and bear arms to the people. By that it OUGHT to mean neither the federal NOR the state governments have any authority to restrict gun ownership or the carrying of weapons.  Despite that, states keep coming up with excuses why they have to “license” us to carry, or even own, weapons.

    So in Illinois you havve to have a state FOID card to either own or purchase a weapon, or even to purchase ammunition. I personally find this both highly intrusive and highly insulting. This is, after all, my right, and I should not have to ask permission of the state to exercise it.

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  8. Eeyore Member

    Devereaux:So in Illinois you havve to have a state FOID card…even to purchase ammunition.

    Pretty lucky here in NC. I sell ammo, and my principal requirement is to assure only that the purchaser is 18 years old for rifle or shotgun and 21 for pistol. No residency requirement, no picture ID. Some purchasers have been shocked at not being asked for same. ‘Course, I do need a picture ID to sell a fishing license…

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  9. user_541971 Member

    Yes, the victories won by second-amendment advocates has been nearly as astonishing – though far-less commented upon – as the victories won by same-sex marriage advocates.

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