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Federal Judge Rules DC Ban on Carrying Handguns is Unconstitutional

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I’ll bet the liberal gun grabbers and the Obama administration are having a fit after this. Federal Judge Frederick Scullin recently ruled in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the city’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home was unconstitutional.

“There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Judge Frederick Scullin wrote in his 19-page ruling.

“Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional,” Scullin added.

Judge Scullin cited extensively from District of Columbia v. Heller and MacDonald v. Chicago, claiming “there is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.”

According to the Washington Post:

The ruling by Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr., made public Saturday, orders the city to end its prohibition against carrying a pistol in public.

It was not clear what immediate effect the order would have.

The order was addressed to the District of Columbia and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, as well as their employees and officers and others “who receive actual notice” of the ruling. But it could not be determined Sunday who had received notice. Also unclear was whether the city would appeal and what effect that would have on the enforcement ban.

Legal sources said Saturday night that in general all parties to a case must be duly informed of a ruling and given the opportunity to appeal before it takes effect.

The group who challenged the ban, the Second Amendment Foundation, was led by attorney Alan Gura, who said that is not the case, and believes that armed citizens will lead to decreased crime, according to studies he cites.

“The decision is in effect, unless and until the court stays its decision,” he said. “This is now a decision that the city is required to follow — the idea that the city can prohibit absolutely the exercise of a constitutional right for all people at all times, that was struck down. That’s just not going to fly.”

“I believe the city is absolutely safer. Make no mistake about it. This is a fantastic improvement in public safety,” Gura said. “Yes, we have a problem in America with gun violence. But no, that problem is not the result of law-abiding people carrying guns.”

“I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right,” he told Fox News.

One of the drawbacks I can see in the ruling is that the judge did write that the court “enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of [D.C. firearms laws] unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The fact that he cites “licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards” seems troubling. Where in the Second Amendment are people to be licensed to exercise a right, not a privilege? Nowhere. Our founders certainly didn’t take such a stand and has been cited with reference to the Black Robed Regiment, they often were carrying long guns with them to and from church.

Keep in mind that the DC police department were the ones that would not charge NBC’s David Gregory for his violation of their law for waving around a high-capacity magazine on live television, yet former Army Spc. Adam Meckler, who had loose 9mm bullets in his backpack, was arrested and jailed.

Additionally, in 2008 the Supreme Court struck down an all out ban on handguns in DC, citing the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Just three years later, an appeals court required the registration of all handguns, which is not constitutional either.

In all honestly, the Second Amendment is all that needs to be cited, not Heller and not MacDonald. To determine constitutionality, one should be looking solely to the Constitution, not later rulings. This is one of the things that bothered me in the Hobby Lobby case. Instead of citing the First Amendment, regarding no law being written by Congress that “prohibits the free exercise” of religion (historically that was Christianity), they cited a 20 year old law by Congress. In my opinion, that does not determine constitutionality.

In either case, at least for now, the judge’s ruling has released the chains of tyranny from DC residents, but don’t think the tyrants will just let the people be free without a fight.


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