DC Gun Ban Struck Down

The Federal Appeals Court today struck down the ban. A copy of the decision can be found here. Remember you read it here first.

The first paragraph in the decision says it all: "Appellants contest the district court's dismissal of their complaint alleging that the District of Columbia's gun control laws violate their Second Amendment rights. The court held that the Second Amendment . . . does not bestow any rights on individuals except, perhaps, when an individual serves in an organized militia such as today's National Guard. We reverse." Also interesting (p. 57): the court clearly recognizes that restrictions are unconstitutional when they prevent guns from being used in self-defense. The Appeals court granted summary judgement for the plaintiffs.

In the dissent, I wonder if the Judge understands that her decision (p. 3) implies that people should be able to own machine guns. They are surely weapons used in militias.

I have no doubt that this is going to the US Supreme Court. There is significant disagreement across the circuit courts that I think there is no doubt that the Supreme Court will grant cert. This is actually a very high risk gamble. IF the gun ban is struck down, it will have major implications. If not, no gun regulation will be deemed "unreasonable."

UPDATE: Fox News has posted a useful discussion here

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Anonymous Earl Harding said...

'IF the gun ban is struck down, it will have major implications. If not, no gun regulation will be deemed "unreasonable."'

At least we will then know where we stand.

If the DC ban is reasonable it will likely fuel activism on both sides. With so many gun owners sitting on the fence this is a good thing.

If they strike down the ban then the collectivists have suffered a significant setback in their arguments.

Either way, it is better then the death by 100 cuts we have now. I often wonder if my Grandkids will be able to inherit my firearms. Maybe now I'll get to find out what the outlook is.

3/09/2007 2:55 PM  
Blogger Brendan Perez said...

Silberman wrote that the Second Amendment is still "subject to the same sort of reasonable restrictions that have been recognized as limiting, for instance, the First Amendment."

Such restrictions might include gun registration to provide the government with information about how many people would be armed if militia service was required, firearms testing to promote public safety or restrictions on gun ownership for criminals or those deemed mentally ill.

Nonsense. The only real restrictions I can think of on the 1st amendment are not really restrictions, but punishments after the fact. Yelling "fire" in a theater, child pornography, "fightin'" words, libel, slander, are all punishable only after the act has occurred.

We can't be gagged to prevent us from yelling "fire", prevented from owning photo/video/computer equipment to prevent production/distribution of child porn, barred from publishing/speaking to prevent slander/libel or instigation of fights.

No prior restraint or permit/registration is tolerated with the 1st amendment and shouldn't be tolerated with the 2nd. People should be able to buy, sell, loan, own, carry, build guns the same way they can cameras, TVs, books, magazines, microphones, pianos, etc.

Preaching to the choir, I now.

3/09/2007 4:22 PM  
Blogger Harles said...

This is going to be a critical battle. Sportsmans groups, rights groups, industry groups, everyone better line up on this one. Keep up the good fight. We will be working and praying....

3/09/2007 5:39 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

If Judge Henderson feels that the Second Amendment does not apply to DC residents because DC is not a state, does she mean that the rest of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution also do not apply to DC residents?

Since I am an Ohio resident and she implies that the BOR does apply to me, does that mean that I can carry a handgun in DC?

3/10/2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Earl:

The issue isn't one of whether to bring a case. The issue is one of timing. Of course there is the chance that now is the best time, but it is still risky.

Dear Brendan:

I agree about the notion of reasonable restrictions. The phrase "shall not infringe" seems about as clear and as strong as one can make it. The phrase wasn't "shall only infringe when the Congress has a good reason for the regulation."

Dear Patti:

The response would be that the phrase "Free state" only appears in the second amendment. I don't think that this makes any sense and I think that the majority opinion does a good job dealing with the issue.

3/10/2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report said...

Mr. Lott - When "More Guns, Less Crime" first came out, I was a talk host in St. Louis, and had you on my show. It has been wonderful to watch the important contributions you've made since then. From a life member of the NRA, Thanks!

Nick Kasoff
The Thug Report

3/10/2007 8:49 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Nick:

Thank you for having me on your show and for your comment.

3/11/2007 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Richard Blackwood said...

People get the definitions of the bill of rights wrong.
Here is my interpretation as I see it.
"A well regulated militia" = "A well organized group of citizens"
"Being necessary to a free state" = "Being necessary to maintain the state of freedom" (not state as in state of Texas but state as in state of being)
"The right of the people to keep an bear arms" = "The right of the people to own and carry arms" (arms meaning weapons)
"Shall not be infringed" = "Shall not be prohibited" (this is the toughest one for me to come up with)

3/14/2007 2:02 PM  

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