Skip to comments.D.C. Defends Ban On Carrying Handguns
Posted on 09/12/2009 7:12:47 AM PDT by marktwain
The city of Washington, D.C. is mounting an aggressive legal defense of its ban on carrying handguns, calling it "squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable."
In a 37-page legal brief filed this week, the District of Columbia says that refusing to grant licenses to its residents to carry handguns in public complies with the Second Amendment. The regulations "serve important goals of public safety, especially here, in the nation's capital," the brief says.
If this lawsuit sounds a little familiar, you're right. It was in June 2008 that the U.S. Supreme Court shot down a city ordinance effectively preventing law-abiding residents from possessing firearms for self-defense inside their own homes. (See the nearby photograph of plaintiff Dick Heller, right, and his attorney Robert Levy.)
The text of the Second Amendment says that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Last year's D.C. v. Heller case dealt with the right to keep arms, but what about the second half: the right to bear arms?
That's what the Second Amendment Foundation is hoping to clear up in a lawsuit the non-profit group filed against the District last month.
The city's response filed on Wednesday says the case should be tossed out of court by granting its motion for summary judgement. Here are some excerpts:
Plaintiffs' invocation of various snippets of language from Heller -- that "the right to keep and carry arms authorizes the public carrying of weapons -- is not supported by that decision, or any other controlling decision. Plaintiffs rely almost exclusively on legal treatises or inapposite, outdated decisions from other jurisdictions."
Plaintiffs provide no controlling or persuasive authority for their conclusion that the right to bear arms universally encompasses the right to carry handguns in public; for over a century and a half, it has been illegal to do so in the nation's capital. Such longstanding law and policy cannot be overturned on the basis of plaintiffs' flimsy showing.
The District is not alone in prohibiting the registration of firearms by non-residents, and declining to issue "carry" licenses, or recognize such licenses from other jurisdictions. The Second Amendment does not "guarante[e] the right to carry handguns in public for self-defense", nor are the District's (and Congress') policy choices here as far outside the mainstream as plaintiffs' [sic] argue.
The Supreme Court recognized the power of government to ban the carrying of weapons in "sensitive places." ... Defendants aver that the whole of the District of Columbia should be considered a "sensitive" place, given its dense concentration of iconic structures, government facilities, embassies, and regular meetings of diplomats and leaders from around the world... Prohibiting the carrying of weapons in public, and restricting registration of handguns to District residents, serve important goals of public safety, especially here, in the nations capital. The District need not observe the lowest common denominator of gun control among the various states. For the foregoing reasons, defendants move for summary judgment.
The District's city code says nobody may carry "either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license." But a post-Heller law that took effect early this year appears to have curbed the ability of the police chief to grant those licenses.
For their part, the Second Amendment Foundation and the group's attorney, Alexandria, Va.-based Alan Gura, are not arguing that all licenses-to-carry schemes are unconstitutional (something that one D.C.-area court would reject anyway). Rather, they're saying that a complete ban on open and concealed carry licenses is necessarily unconstitutional.
"We're not against all gun laws or forms of gun control here," the Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb told me last month. "We're not saying that you can bring your gun to the Capitol building or the White House. But there are obviously places where you should be able to carry a gun for self-defense."
Now, there may be some problems with the District's argument. One is a simple factual error: Deputy Attorney General George Valentine's brief claims that "the majority of Americans live in states that entirely prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons."
Perhaps it was an editing mistake, but in any case, that statement is untrue. Only two states, Wisconsin and Illinois, completely prohibit carrying concealed weapons. Even states like California and New York, not known to be especially gun-friendly, permit concealed carry licenses to be granted (even if it's difficult to obtain one in practice).
The other problem with the District's argument is that, if the Second Amendment does protects an individual right, the right to "bear arms" has to mean something more than walking around your house with a .40 caliber Glock in a belt holster.
In last year's Heller case, the justices' majority opinion noted that "at the time of the founding, as now, to 'bear' meant to 'carry,'" and that the phrase "'bear arms' was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia." Also: "We find that (the Second Amendment's clauses) guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.""
That seems reasonably clear. But because the city of Washington, D.C. sees it otherwise, its handgun laws may end up back at the Supreme Court soon enough.
I know there are those who want the whole gamut of anti-gun laws eliminated all at one time, but it ain't gonna happen.
It is a war of attrition, one that will take time, the right case, and a strict Constitution SCOTUS.
Digusting that DC can even call itself an American city when it sees no problem with infringing on a fundamental God-given American right.
In New Jersey, you can get a concealed carry permit - ON PAPER.
But forget about getting it in reality. You need a judge’s approval and they only grant them to politicians, politically connected, armed guards on duty, and people who carry large amounts of money or jewels as part of their trade. Mysuspicion is it is the same in New York.
THey are running the very same case again. It reminds me of that scene in A Few Good Men:
“I strenuously object?” Is that how it works? Hm? “Objection.” “Overruled.” “Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object.” “Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider.”
It is on this point that I fear we will lose the vote of Justice Kennedy. We could have a 5-4 vote that would allow your right to keep and bear arms to go no further than your property....perhaps extended to your vehicle, but no further.
This is what I feared upon reading the Heller decision and the poorly worded "sensitive places" phrase that is so open to interpretation that you could run an aircraft carrier through it.
Simple solution...for every new law that is passed repeal one hundred old laws until you get back to the original Ten Commandments..then stop.
Of course, Heller was a huge loss, and Orwellian talk radio said it was some victory.
Tyranny won again.
Calling something “mainstream” is a legal argument?
>The city of Washington, D.C. is mounting an aggressive legal defense of its ban on carrying handguns, calling it “squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable.”
Small note, a rifle (or shotgun) is not a handgun...
“D.C. Defends Ban On Carrying Handguns”
Given the racial composition of D.C., it would certainly not be hard to characterize this ban as racist.
My question is why don’t we follow the advice of our founders and ignore unjust laws? (ie What COULD DC do if 500,000 people were protesting and OPENLY CARRYING? Even 100,000 would make it logistically impossible for them to do anything.)
Lol. As always, it comes down to this: You first.
Given the racial composition of D.C., it would certainly not be hard to characterize this ban as racist.
You just hit the root cause of all gun control laws.
It’s ok for you and me, but not “THOSE PEOPLE”.
The founding fathers were 100% correct in their disdain of urban centers. For this and many other reasons.
One of the reasons I left the People’s Republic of New Jersey . Moved residency to PA and had a CCW permit issued by the county sheriff in two weeks .
I would be in on armed march on DC, this corrupt government needs to be smacked down, IMO (and a show of force would definitely spark things off, just like at Lexington and Concord); I am starting to believe that is the only way that justice will be served to our corrupt ‘overlords’.
First though, I will see what happens with the 9.12 project and its attendant protests.
Washington DC seems to be a “sensitive” place to all but the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Digusting that DC can even call itself an American city when it-——————is a combo of Flatland, 1984, and Animal Farm ??
Post 11 is on the right track. One protester can be arrested and overwhelmed by the government’s prosecution system. One hundred or one hundred thousand protesters are a movement that the government must respect and listen to. If you love freedom support it by joining up with those who are on your side. NRA for guns and the Tea Party movement for conservative government.
I was watching the 9/11 documentary “102 Minutes” on History Channel and saw something I’d never noticed in viewing it before. There was a very quick film clip sometime after the first tower collapsed, of two guys who were standing in the middle of all the debris, one of them is holding a crate full of what looks like items from his office. The guy holding the camera is saying to him, “You saved us, man. You took your pistol and shot out the window and we got out.” And the guy holding the crate looks like his eyes get watery for a second and then he nods his head and says, “That’s right.”
The city of Washington, D.C. is mounting an aggressive legal defense of its ban on carrying handguns, calling it “squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable.”
Since when is disarming victims “squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable”?
Since when is standing against the 39 States that have “shall issue” concealed carry laws “squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable”?
When are we going to stop re-electing these pompous jackasses.
PA is one of the best states, bar none, for gun laws.
Corruption is rampant here; but gun laws are about as good as they come.
The PA Constitution helps:
Right to Bear Arms Section 21.
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
As I read that statement, it occurred to me that if you could determine the racial makeup of those carrying illegally, that perhaps this ban is reverse racist. Think about it for a minute.
I don't think so. Kennedy referred, as I recall, to the needs of a frontiersman. Such a person could not be expected to defend his family from marauders by sitting in his own home waiting for them to arrive.
He would need to confront them at a place of his own choosing and do so in concert with other like-minded men. He wouldn't be expected to leave his gun behind or to seek somebody's permission to participate.
In addition, such a man must be prepared to gather food and other supplies for his family. This can't be done while sitting inside one's home. The notion of an organized police force is a relatively new idea and would not have been considered by our Founders as a substitute for the ability to defend one's self or family. Even the courts today do not oblgate police forces in any way to specifically protect the average person.
Anti-gunners like to pretend that the government gets to simply choose which places are "sensitive" without any regard to why such places might be sensitive or what obligations the government has to protect those who are disarmed in such a sensitive place.
There's a long way to go before pessimism is justified.
Rather, squarely in the propaganda-induced "mainstream" and eminently unreasonable in a free society.
See, why am I still not surprised...
Even when the Supreme Court of the United States of America tells them they are wrong...
They do not adhere to the ruling...
So Iguess that means when and if the government tells the rest of us tht the right to keep and bear arms is subject to open infringement...
We can tell the government to go take a long walk on a short pier...
I’m jiggy wit it...
Nothing was going to happen or change anyway with this case...I said that two years ago...
All you need to know about NYC is that Don Imus has one and you never will.
This is why it is so important for conservative Republicans and independents not to sit out general elections to punish the RINOs and country club Republicans. This is why it is so important to keep socialists from the Democratic party out of the White House and keep their choices off the Supreme Court.
Heller was a narrow decision clarifying ONLY keeping guns in the home. It made it legal to own guns and un-constitutional to ban gun ownership. Heller did not include any aspect of carrying guns outside the home. So no, DC has not violated the Heller ruling in that respect.
Heller was a great victory for 2nd Amendment supporters and for all Americans who cherish Freedom. But it was only a start. A huge start that can be built upon. It ruled that we have an individual right to own guns. Now we need a ruling that we have an individual right to carry them.
The socialists have been slowly winning incrementally. Heller started the ball rolling determining an INDIVIDUAL has a right to own a firearm, not just a governmental body like the National Guard.
The next increment to fight is to establish that the constitution protect the right of DC residents to carry guns outside the home.
So this battle against the gun-banning socialists is being fought one element at time.
Well on that aspect you are right...
But tell me something...If all the folks in D.C. now have it cleared, and have “permission” to have a functional firearm IN the home in the district...
How are they going to be able to “legally” get those functioning firearms into the home now???
The same is true in MD.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote some 800 years ago that civil law which violates Natural Law need not be obeyed. That you came up with much the same conclusion reflects the ages old wisdom of our Founders and Framers.
Here in Michigan:
“Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”
14 in 11 months, huh?
I’d like to see that Banglist.
Tomorrow, going to the range with some buds.
Taking my new Beretta CX-4 Storm w/a red-dot sight, a S-W model 39-2 9mm, and a new Sigma.
My buddy’s bringing his new Rock River Arms AR.
Should be fun.
Once again we are seeing that instead of serving their most basic function of protecting rights the political tyrants of D.C. are removing or limiting rights.
I grew up in a gun family but had not been into guns in many years (decades)....let’s just say the writing was on the wall last October and I got religion so to speak.
“...grew up in a gun family but had not been into guns in many years...”
That’s my story too. It was close to twenty years for me.
Now I go about once a week or so.