Like Bull Connor who can’t stop trying to deny the civil rights of African-Americans, the DC city government seems compelled to violate the civil rights of all those in the district who wish to exercise their fundamental and Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Thankfully for DC residents, the federal court has again smitten the hoplophobic little tyrants Cathy Lanier and Karl Racine as the federal government was there to force the racists to honor the rights of the Little Rock Nine.
Do the powers that be in DC want people to be victims of violent crime and predation? Given what we know about how criminals obtain guns, and the difference between a legally armed populace and a disarmed one, under the mercy of any armed power, one could be forgiven for thinking that when examining the constant and high priority those officials place on keeping the citizenry disarmed.
This week the U.S. District Court for DC ruled that the government could not require a “good reason” from people who wished to be granted an application to carry firearms in the District.
Floridians, led by then future NRA President Marion Hammer demanded that the decision on whether they would be allowed to carry guns be taken out of the often arbitrary and capricious hands of bureaucrats and politicians. They won that battle in 1987, starting a wave of “shall issue” laws passed throughout America. Shall issue makes a license or permit to carry a firearm akin to any other type of license or permit. There are set requirements applicants must meet, and no opinion of officials is allowed in the process – the rules are applied evenly to all. But not DC residents.
DC had to be dragged kicking and screaming – all the way to the Supreme Court in fact – to simply allow its residents to buy any guns at all. Shortly after being granted home rule, they enacted a firearms ban so pervasive that a person couldn’t buy a handgun to keep in their own home. That battle yielded the the landmark Heller decision, recognizing all Americans’ individual right to keep and bear arms. In the 8 years since Heller, DC has done everything it can to interfere with and frustrate the citizens who wish to exercise their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and recognized in Heller.
At first they tried to use zoning laws to prevent the city from having even a single gun store. Then they banned all semi-automatics (the most common and popular type of handgun). Then they required ballistics testing of any gun. Then they required fingerprinting and registering of gun owners. Then they required people to register any guns, and re-register them every 3 years, in person. Then they enacted a total ban on carrying.
The 17 step compliance process to legally buy a gun in DC post-Heller included fees of $465.
If you don’t have much experience with gun regulation in the U.S., be advised these are fantastical regulations to which no other American must submit themselves in order to legally own a gun. Like the Jim Crow laws, they were designed and implemented for one purpose: to frustrate the exercise of fundamental rights. Thankfully, they have almost been shot down by a series of battles waged in the courts against DC in the wake of Heller. A full dollar accounting has yet been made of how much the taxpaying citizens of the District have had to pay to be denied their own basic rights. The last one is the effective ban on carrying.
It’s not a total ban, because maybe, if you’re very lucky, you can convince Cathy Lanier you deserve a very special permission to carry a gun. Civil rights hero Matthew Grace was not special enough. He was denied the license. He sued to have the law overturned, and applied to the federal courts for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the “good reason” requirement while the case moved through the system.
Thankfully the judge deciding the case recognized the requirement for what it was, striking down the requirement and issuing an injunction prohibiting the city from using this arbitrary standard.
DC argued that the stringent restrictions that deny almost all applicants are a public safety measure. We know for sure that is not true. With many cities to draw data from, we know that there are safe cities where guns are easily carried without any license, and ultra violent ones where guns are almost impossible to legally buy and carry. Apart from being universally controlled by Democrat politicians for decades, there seems to be no common thread between large American cities with high crime rates.
Undaunted, DC Attorney General Racine has already announced his intention to stay this ruling and appeal its decision. Why not – it’s not his money, and of course, he qualifies for a license.