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The Next D.C. Gun Battle

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the District must allow residents to keep handguns at home, the biggest questions in the social and political rift over the Second Amendment are resolved, right? Not so fast...

The D.C. government is busy writing regulations that will govern how to register guns and who may qualify for registration, and Mayor Adrian Fenty says those new rules will be ready within three weeks. But some very big questions remain, and the odds are it will take another journey through the courts to determine the answers.

I asked Fenty whether the court's ruling means that the District must now allow retail sales of guns. "It's hard to say," the mayor replied. "Who knows what the demand is." He said there have been no discussions about how or whether to proceed toward any new regulations on gun retailing. The District has had a couple of gun dealers who were grandfathered in from before the gun ban went into effect in 1976. Those dealers, working from offices or home rather than from a storefront, sold their wares to security guards and law enforcement officers. But the mayor didn't seem terribly eager to incorporate gun shops into his economic development agenda.

If the District doesn't allow gun shops to open, it's in for a fight, says Robert Levy, the lawyer and Cato Institute fellow who conceived the lawsuit that ended with last week's decision by the Supremes. "That would certainly eviscerate the court's decision," Levy told me in an interview for this week's edition of Raw Fisher Radio, which you can hear right here on the big web site starting at noon tomorrow (Tuesday) or anytime thereafter at

Levy and Jim Kessler, co-founder of Third Way, a progressive think tank that urges a more moderate approach to hot button social issues, join me for a conversation about the impact of the court's ruling tossing out the D.C. gun ban.

Both men agreed that the ruling at least sucks the juice out of the decades-long political debate over the meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment, but both also are confident that pro- and anti-gun groups will still find plenty to argue about. The content and emotion of the debate will, however, shift, most likely to a long and multi-faceted court struggle over just what level of regulation is now permitted.

Who may own a gun? How high may a government set the threshold for gun ownership? Would it be ok for the District or other cities to require gun owners to notify the authorities anytime they sell or give away a firearm? Is that a good crime-fighting step or an unconstitutional infringement on a gun owner's rights?

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (Ward 2) warned last week against any effort by the city to write its new gun regulations so narrowly as to try to create a de facto ban to replace the invalidated law. The last thing the city needs in tough economic times is a new stream of litigation, Evans said.

But both sides in the national debate on guns believe there will indeed be a vigorous tug of war over how extensively gun ownership may now be regulated, and just as we've seen in the abortion debate, even the winners in a Supreme Court case manage to use modern marketing tactics to keep fear alive. How else can such groups sustain themselves and keep their fundraising machines humming along?

For the District, the trick will be to satisfy residents who want the strictest possible limits on gun ownership without enveloping the city in a legal battle that steals resources and energy from Fenty's primary agenda--the schools.

By Marc Fisher |  June 30, 2008; 7:14 AM ET
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Steal resources and energy from the school agendas? Perhaps Fenty could look at other city and state's policies on gun regulations instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. This should be a no-brainer.

Posted by: Gimme a gun | June 30, 2008 8:19 AM

In DC you should be allowed to carry a fire arm on your person in plain view on the streets and or concealed with the proper permit. Violating law and subsequent conviction should carry a mandatory 5 year prison term.

A one hand gun a month purchase limit would be fair. No registration of fire arms. Backround checks at shows. And DC must allow the sale of all legal handguns.
No semi auto ban.

Also there must be reciprocity with VA to allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry concealed anywhere in DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 8:20 AM

Have no fear I 'm sure the District will write such tough laws that they will wind up back in court and lose again. When it comes to wasting taxpayer dollars the District is in a class by itself.

Posted by: FLvet | June 30, 2008 9:01 AM

Yes Gimmie a Gun! Nothing more needs to be said about this. Unfortunately, the people in charge here will do it wrong and it will cost us taxpayers dearly.

Posted by: johng1 - I want one too! | June 30, 2008 9:01 AM

Perhaps the District could lease space within one or more of the Police stations for private dealers to sell guns. The background checks and security of inventory should be easily accomodated. All those who were screaming about "law-abiding" owners or would be owners should have nothing to fear about going to the cop shop to apply for , get permitted, or purchase legal guns. Perhaps they could locate this "outlet " at one of the police shooting ranges where the purchaser could learn and demonstrate their ability /proficiency with the weapon they are seeking to purchase. No one's "rights" would be abridged and there might even be some sense of sanity in the whole endeavor.

Posted by: jmsbh | June 30, 2008 9:16 AM


Wow great plan except you forgot DC cops are the most corrupt in the area. Now PG cops will beat you up but DC cops will take your money and steal from you. So do you really want DC cops anywhere near guns for sale especially since guns seized in DC disappear at alarming rates from their custody. DC cops are already selling guns and have been for years. How do the criminal in DC get guns? From the cops!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 9:23 AM

I see no reason Fenty can't put maximum limitations on gun ownership. Only those without a criminal past. People should have to take a gun safety course. Should have 2 letters of recomendation from district citizens with no criminal record. Must have been a resident in the district for at least 3 months. Must attest that no members of the household have a criminal record otherwise the gun may not be kept in the home.

Posted by: Ad-Rock | June 30, 2008 9:34 AM

It D.C. tries to use zoning tricks to prevent gun stores from opening they will be in violation of the Supreme Court's ruling. Since it is against federal law to buy a handgun outside your state of residence, there would be no way for a D.C. resident to purchase a handgun. Firearms dealers are licensed and regulated by the federal government. There is an entire agency (ATF) whose function is to regulate firearms dealers. Any further regulation by D.C. is purely obstruction.

Posted by: woodbridge | June 30, 2008 9:40 AM

The question I have is why are revolvers okay in Chief Lanier's instructions and not other handguns? Are there other gun restrictions that weren't covered by DC vs Heller?

Posted by: dcbeans | June 30, 2008 9:48 AM

National Reciprocity should be soon.

Definition of 'reasonable' should be next.

Perhaps it should be the duty of the citizen to perform policing functions. Perhaps all citizens should be expected to carry a firearm...

Don't forget, Police solve crimes AFTER they're committed. It is only by sheer luck when they are there at a crime's commission.

Posted by: Kevin | June 30, 2008 9:49 AM

I have been a conceal and carry permit holder for 10 years now and have not shot anybody yet. Guns are not the problem people are the problem.It might make better sense to make the D.C. a safer place to live by enforcing the current laws and dealing with the people that make us want to have a gun in the first place

Posted by: Richard | June 30, 2008 9:55 AM

Having been infected via a blood transfusion with hepatitis in 1969 and AIDS/HIV seroconversion 1983, I suffered a reaction to one of the medications causing me to lose my "2nd Amendment" right to bear arms. I have never been a danger to others or myself? It is a sad state of affairs when the innocent minority are "punished" for the incompetencies of the majority. Then again who really needs a "gun" these days with 6.67 billion overpopulation? Leave it to the "Supreme Court" who removed our Lord's Prayer as a natural birth control. Think abstinence... Thank you.
P.S.S. It is in their nature to "learn" the rules the hard way!!!? Be well. J

Posted by: Jonathan | June 30, 2008 9:55 AM

The Federal and State governments have been taxing the crap out of smokers and drinkers for years.

Now they have another "sin tax" opportunity.

Why don't they take advantage of this gun situation while they have the chance: tax gunpowder. A gunpowder tax will not infringe on anybody's 2nd amendment rights and will create a tremendous revenue source for all levels of government.

That will give the DC politicians (and their friends/families) more cash to embezzle.

The rest of the country can use the money on schools, roads, etc.

Posted by: SoMD | June 30, 2008 10:06 AM

Define criminal past? And shouldnt the passage of time mitigate many so called criminal offenses like DIP or Trespassing when it comes to gun ownership.If you are convicted of Reckless Driving in VA it is class 1 misd. Not a traffic offense. Should that keep you from owning a gun?

Lets remember reasonable

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 10:26 AM

How long before DC residents on public assistance begin to demand their city government provide them with weapons the court says they MUST be allowed to keep?

At taxpayer expense!

Marx said everyone will have everything they want, according to their need. And residents of socialist DC certainlly will need to be armed.

The court said if you want a gun in your home just go get one. At some point some fellow is going to get into trouble trying to make that happemn. What your readers deserve is a profile of just how that might go down.

If the stores don't sell them, maybe they will have to make their own. Remember zip guns?

Why not be honest with your readers and tell them you have no idea what happens next, and that nobody else does either?

Don't con your readers with lies about the litigation bombshell this decision is bound to generate. This country runs on litigation and you know it. Bush would be better off letting the detanees in Cuba go, but he can't, because he cannot thwart the demand for litigation. Neither can DC.

Posted by: Bob McDonnell, Schaumburg, IL | June 30, 2008 10:28 AM

Here are some common sense license requirements from another state.

You must be at least 21 years of age.

In order to obtain or renew a firearms license, you are required to be fingerprinted and must undergo a criminal background investigation by the State Bureau of Investigationand FBI.

A firearms license cannot be issued to any person who has been convicted of a felony.

A firearms license may not be issued to a person who has been convicted of a forcible misdemeanor, crime of domestic violence, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a weapon at a public gathering or at school functions and convictions relating to controlled substances or gang related misdemeanor

A firearms license may not be issued to a person who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within the past five years.

Firearms license cannot be issued to any person who has been convicted of any type of drug offense including nolo contendere and first offender pleas.

Posted by: Willie Ray | June 30, 2008 10:49 AM

How about a shift from a lot of hot air about the decision of the Supremes to a priority focus on a goal for D.C. of becoming the national capital with the lowest rate of gun violence, and a well-fopunded but fast paced action plan to achieve that goal? For this, D.C. should seek a Federal partnership for examining relevant research that may be available and the experiences of other cities, for conducting thorough analyses as to constitutional methods to pursue, and for heigthened and co-ordination actions by the components of the justice system.

There are compelling opportunities for menaingful action. A recent article in the Washingtonian points out one glaring shortcoming that the D.C. can and should address without fear of raising a constitutional issue: the lack of application of meaningful penalties for the illegal possession of a gun and for meaningful additional penalties for posessing or using a gun in the perpetation of a crime.

Here's another possibility. All Federal and city officials who have a security detail should schedule frequent visits (24/7) to the sites of high rates of gun violence. The President, with his strong Bubble of protection, would be a great leader for these visits. If, as I expect, the security details effectively prevent gun violence, the next step would be extend the protective Bubble to the long-suffering residents 24/7.

Posted by: Jim Breiling | June 30, 2008 10:58 AM

"Also there must be reciprocity with VA to allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry concealed anywhere in DC."

No. Not going to happen, you rednecks.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 11:33 AM


I see no reason Fenty can't put maximum limitations on gun ownership. Only those without a criminal past. People should have to take a gun safety course. Should have 2 letters of recomendation from district citizens with no criminal record. Must have been a resident in the district for at least 3 months. Must attest that no members of the household have a criminal record otherwise the gun may not be kept in the home.

You don't need a letter of recommendation to enjoy a Constitutional right. It doesn't matter if the 99.9% of the population of the District were against guns (though this is not so), that .1% still have a protected right to own a firearm IN the District.

Using your logic, the south could have said that in order to vote, African American's must secure two letters of recommendation from white land owners, recommending they be able to vote. Sound's quite silly right?

Lawsuits are very expensive folks. The District does not need new legislation that invites expensive legal battles that we are destined to loose.

We have a legislative body whose job is to introduce legislation within the bounds of the law and oversee the government to see to it that those rules/regulations are properly administred. There job is NOT to find ways to skirt the Constitutional liberties of those who elect them to office.

Posted by: Concernedaboutdc | June 30, 2008 11:34 AM


Posted by: GUNWORSHIPER | June 30, 2008 12:14 PM

gun worshipper..

If you are equating knives and guns then lets have a battle. You pick the knife , i will take the gun.

are we living in the wild wild west?

Posted by: where is this country heading to | June 30, 2008 12:23 PM

Using all caps always makes one appear to be so intelligent.

Posted by: ksu499 | June 30, 2008 12:24 PM

the DC mayor said "semi-automatic" guns will not be allowed.... does he mean that he will only allows revolvers? does he even know what a semi-automatic handgun is?(as in Glocks)

Posted by: confused_diana | June 30, 2008 12:26 PM

the work has already been done--VA and MD codes will fit DC nicely. VA especially after the college tragedy closed the loophole enabling dingbats to buy handguns. DC gun ownership is a huge nonissue that the media is exploiting to the max. A tiny percentage of DC residents will buy weapons--after all--the criminals have been armed since the end of World War 2. If steel trigger locks are used the children will be safe--as will spouses during cocaine/meth fired domestic disputes. This really isn't difficult folks--let's stay focused on the real issue and blogs--drilling for more oil in this country before our dollar can't buy what yesterday's nickel did.

Posted by: jim | June 30, 2008 12:29 PM

The anti gun lobby is just trying to keep honest citizens from obtaining guns. The criminals don't care what the laws are they are still going to obtain firearms.

But by blocking the people from keeping hguns and protecting themselves we let the criminals win.

Posted by: Willie Ray | June 30, 2008 12:30 PM

It goes without saying that Fenty will do whatever he thinks he can get away with to minimize the impact of the Supremes telling him to obey the Law of the Land. He'll block, he'll fight in court, and he'll lie -- he'll do whatever it takes to prohibit gun ownership because it's easier than admitting that he and every other big city liberal mayor and their press allies have been wrong for the last 40 years about gun control.

Posted by: JSmithCSA | June 30, 2008 12:31 PM

When the founding fathers wrote the 2nd ammendent to the Constitution they had no idea that pistols & rifles would evolve to what they are today. When the ammendent was written arms were muzzle loading design and their capability was to fire and reload in approximately 1-2 minutes. the arms today are capable of firing up to 1000 rounds a minute. The emphasis today is placed on the hand gun,which is nothing more than a mechanical devise that activates a cartridge and sends the bullet on its destructive path. Without ammunition the gun is useless. CONTROLL THE AMMUNITION AND THE GUNS WILL BE CONTROLLED. The courts can do it if they put their minds to lthe problem.

Posted by: Jerry Bachman | June 30, 2008 12:33 PM

Remember Congress which DC has no voting representation in thank the Lord has final say over DC laws and regs.

VA reciprocity as it pertains to Concealed Weapons has already been passed by both houses. And is on the way to W's desk. Ooops Reid and Pelosi and their socialist party members didnt catch it. So sorry.
And remember Congress can pass laws to allow to DC residents to buy guns in MD or VA.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 12:42 PM

Haha spot on gunwhorshiper

Posted by: laskers | June 30, 2008 12:42 PM


the US was never invaded prior to World War II (if you don't count the war of 1812) because it was an ocean away, unlike most of europe, and at the time was not instrumental to any imperial power's trade routes (think spice, silk, guano, etc -- the then-equivalents to oil now), and not worth taking at the time (large, mostly wilderness, and not really producing much until well after the civil war -- though the South was exporting a fair bit of cotton, sugar, etc to Europe, but they were already doing it and would likely stop if invaded) -- it had nothing to do with guns: the U.S. until the 20th century was not worth taking by force, guns or no guns, and was worth a lot more at peace than as a conquered power.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 12:45 PM

Typing in all caps should be a felony.

Posted by: ende | June 30, 2008 12:57 PM

Are strict constitutionalists also insistent on a literal interpretation of the bible? Are they the same people? Is there a difference in the logic? Why don't I understand it? Well, one difference I guess is that nobody claimed Thomas Jefferson was omniscient so it is fair to say the founding fathers were not weighing in on what our urban streets look like today. On the other hand, I guess God did know about that when guiding the hand of the authors of the bible.

There's a movie called, Slacker, in which a person is making announcements about a new government program that is going to solve lots of problems. It's a free program. It's a free program in which the government is giving out free guns to anyone who wants one. There are lots of different kinds to choose from.

Posted by: DaveC | June 30, 2008 1:08 PM

DCJeff applauds Jack Evans for "making sense"

Posted by: DCJeff | June 30, 2008 1:23 PM


Nice thought on controlling ammunition, but like pornographic material, the Supreme Court ruled that individuals had the right to possess pornography in the privacy of their own home.

The next ruling in the cases was " the right to possess pornography implied the right to purchase", therefore I don't think trying to control ammunition would stand a chance in the courts

Posted by: Larry Pattajo | June 30, 2008 1:25 PM

I would think that if they try to ban semi-automatics they would have to indicate why they are so much more dangerous that they'd have to be banned. Are they any more dangerous that two revolvers? Especially the seven shot ones?

Posted by: Stick | June 30, 2008 1:30 PM

"When the founding fathers wrote the 2nd ammendent to the Constitution they had no idea that pistols & rifles would evolve to what they are today."
Would you feel the same way if I instead wrote "The Founding Fathers had no idea printing presses would evolve into television and the internet when the First Amendment was written, so there should be no free speech protections. The internet is too dangerous for individuals because you can communicate quickly and is not properly regulated by trained journalists."

Posted by: woodbridge | June 30, 2008 1:49 PM

Oh crap so my history teacher was wrong about the various and continued invasion of the US by Mexican Army troops since about 1840? And the Russians invading the US through Cali?


Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:49 PM

A critical point everyone seems to be overlooking here is that federal law is federal *municipal* law---that means that it only applies to D.C. and the limited federal enclaves in the several states. Whatever may apply to D.C. does not also apply to the states. States are NOT under automatic federal jurisdiction!

People living in D.C. are de facto U.S. citizens and are automatically under federal law. Many people have the status of state nationals---NOT "U.S. citizens"---no matter how much the feds may dislike the fact.

Posted by: A.P. | June 30, 2008 2:07 PM

Abortion rights (which I support) appear nowhere in the Constitution yet pro-choice activists resist any regulation at all. Gun rights are explicit in the Constitution but anti-gunners insist on regulating the right into oblivion. If gun owners are smart, they will accept the same level of regulation that pro-choice advocates accept on abortion.

Posted by: West Coast Doc | June 30, 2008 2:08 PM

While I pretty much agree with the gunworshiper the Japs took two of the Aleutian Islands during WWII. While AK wasn't yet a state it was an American Territory.

Posted by: FLvet | June 30, 2008 2:39 PM

Insurance is the answer. You can possess, carry or otherwise flourish any weapon as long as you can show proof of insurance. It is just that simple. This proposed insurance should cover intentional and inadvertant discharge or weilding of said weopon. Obviously it needs to follow the weapon just like car insurance in case of theft. Insurance takes care of every objection except of course that no one would every underwrite such a thing, hence problem solved.

Posted by: Buddesatva | June 30, 2008 2:41 PM

Who honestly believes that we can change the behavior of violent criminals by creating additional laws?

Posted by: Jim from Virginia | June 30, 2008 2:41 PM

The anti gun democrats do not care what the court has said. They will still do everything they can to pick all the firearms up. If they get into to power, that will be a major proity for them to do. They will think of any new rules or regulation they can put in to get total power of all of us. THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

Posted by: F Plecas | June 30, 2008 2:43 PM

While I believe that any gun ownership needs regulation and keeping them away from households with criminals is certainly a good way to keep them out of the wrong hands, does anyone else see how gun policy in the District is going to turn out to be another racist policy?

Further, can someone please offer one good reason why guns in homes are necessary?

Posted by: Robyn | June 30, 2008 2:49 PM

why in the world do people need guns in their homes and personal lives so much anyway,...this is like giving away free syringes to drug addicts or providing the opportunity of misfortunate deaths and homicides to increase...legally, espcecially with the lack of regulation and governance that the courts and legislative bodies will propose...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:57 PM

DC is already a heavily armed city. Let's be thankful that the Supreme Court will now let it be legal for citizens to defend themselves!

Posted by: Mike | June 30, 2008 3:00 PM

robyn asked for one good reason why guns in homes are necessary. This young woman would be alive today if she had been able to defend herself with a handgun when two men broke into her apartment and then kidnapped and murdered her.

Posted by: woodbridge | June 30, 2008 3:01 PM

NOW you understand why the Heller ruling was not what the MSM was claiming it was. Scalia, while doing a Kelo on the term "shall not be infringed", opend the door to this kind of backdoor garbage.

What the Court SHOULD have done was address the "shall not be infringed" clause properly. They did not, and in fact in Section 2 of the holdings they indicated clearly that "shall not be infringed" actually means "may be infringed" (hence the Kelo).

Sure, they declared it an individual right, but then they also ignored the rest of the Amendment. What part of "shall not be infringed" didn't they understand? Apparently all of it...

Posted by: Tannim | June 30, 2008 3:08 PM

Gunworshiper: The "Caps Lock" key does not make the buttons go "bang" when you push them, so please, gently release that key. (It hasn't done anything bad to you, has it?)

F Plecas: Please don't end your comments with a scream. My ears had barely recovered from that D--head gunworshiper and then you go off.

As far as Democrats collecting all the guns is concerned: I should not have to remind everybody that is exactly how Hitler started in the 30's.

Why don't we try and avoid repeated that error, OK?

Posted by: DC Voter | June 30, 2008 3:11 PM

I think the mayor has his head up his backside. How can you not see that the crime in DC is higher than surrounding areas that allow gun ownership and carry? Why does the mayor have an armed security force if he feels that DC is so safe.

Mayor Moron, I dare you to walk the streets, K street, without your security detail.

I have a permit from a nearby state and I carry there even though you felt it made me a criminal. Does my 8 years of military service, my masters degree, and my 6 figure income, qualify me to carry a gun in your city?

I don't care. I carry period. No state shall right a law that supercedes the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I do not recognize your petty attempt to suck up top the liberal elite establishment.

Will you suddenly take credit when your crime rate drops like a rock once the criminals know we are all armed and ready to fight back and kill them?

Posted by: Citizen Veteran | June 30, 2008 3:12 PM

Some how, we have allowed this whole idea of government to get upside down. It is not the "right" of the government to decide the citizen's rights. The government is strictly by the people and for the people. By and for are not optional. Gun control is a vivid example amongst many others of how Government has over stepped it's role to serve the public. Clearly the voice of the people is not influencing politicians as well as corporate America. How do we keep politicians accountable to the people? How much damage to our country and constitution are we going to tolerate? Do we need to experience the 2nd great depression to wake up? We the people that created this government and are whom the Government should answer to decided that we have the right to bear arms. We have this right to protect us from the government. Why is it so hard to learn from history? Should honest law abiding citizens lose rights because government lacks the will to detour crime? Why is it that during an election the "candidates" tell us what the issues are? Shouldn't we tell them what issues will they will be held accountable for? I am tired of the "spin" I want better service from public servants! Not convinced? We are on the brink of the 2nd great depression. Scary for many reasons in the world we live in today. Do you think you will want a gun if that happens? Think about how the dollar is not on a gold standard. The deflation of the U.S. dollar because we no longer are the only currency for global oil trading. The "Credit crisis" A more honest name is the "Defraud the taxpayer scam". Our tax dollars are paying for the bail out of mortgage companies via the FHA loans being handed out to less qualified people. Who changed the rules to allow major mortgage companies sell these loans as "low risk" commodities? Can the mortgage companies claim that they did not know the difference between low and high risk? If you have ever dealt with a loan officer you know the answer. And where is our media in this? Documenting the story of the century? Complacency is destroying this country. Consider Mark Twain's comment: "If you pick you a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." Pudd'nhead Wilson. I suggest you consider what type of person is drawn to power and prestige. Then think if you want that person holding the rope you are dwindling from while they contemplate the contents of your wallet. Is this the person you want deciding if you should be able to defend yourself? i doubt any man or woman would not defend their loved ones from immenant harm if they had the means to provide for their defense. Could you stand by if your family needed you to defend them? Can you truly imagine not defending your family? If the legal system and police were effective at detouring crime you might not have to think about this as hard..

Posted by: We The People | June 30, 2008 3:26 PM

Given that the SCOTUS Heller decision clearly allows handguns "in common use", DC's semi-auto ban is clearly unconstitutional, and Fenty and the DC Council are in contempt of court.

Posted by: DC Resident | June 30, 2008 3:26 PM

The Militia Act of 1792 REQUIRED each able-bodied man to provide himslef with a musket and other weaponry to partake in his states' defense.

Western law (British, etc.) has held for hundreds of years that individuals have a right, if not an obligation, to own weapons. Given that day-to-day life is arguably more perilous in modern times than then, why is not somehow different? The 2nd amendment is a continuation of that legal tradition that honors the individual right.

It's amazing that more weight had been given to implicit rights (derived by court decision) such as abortion, than has been given to this EXPRESS right in the second amendment. That suppression of this individual right has now officially ended with the USSC ruling.

I agree that guns don't kill people any more than kitchen knives (often used in domestic homicide) baseball bats, and other things...which seem to somehow always escape intense objection. Somehow people stop thinking logically when it comes to guns.

As a gun owner and a long-time concealed permit holder - I've only had one occasion when I *almost* used my gun...and I hope I never have to use it.

But I fully support reasonable regulation to prevent unstable, felonious, or violent persons from legally acquiring guns. And that is a finer point - that these people PROVABLY obtain weapons even now - and that along with acknowledgment of 2nd Amendment rights, there should be severe penalties for those who possess and bear arms illegally.

As for taxing guns and ammunition - it will never happen as this would be a defacto infringement on a Constitutional right, now acknowledged by the USSC ruling. Why? Because, just as you can have no voting tax or other laborious or prohibitive measures aimed solely at frustrating the practice of a Constitutional right, there will only be more legal challenges fought and lost to the now-acknowledged right.

In the end - it's over for the anti-gun lobby..PERIOD. The focus now can only be on reasonable regulation the bitterness of having to learn a new way of thinking about guns. I suggest entertaining the idea that you were wrong all along !

Posted by: JRDevo | June 30, 2008 3:29 PM

Back on the subject of DC gun shops, there is a way to open one by next week:

Posted by: Mike Licht | June 30, 2008 3:36 PM

Josh Sugarmann
Violence Policy Center
1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Suite 1014
Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202 822 8200

FFL Number 1-54-000-01-8C-00725

Posted by: There is an FFL in DC: | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM

Below is in response to Jim Breiling's comments on June 30, 2008 10:58 AM, "...lack of application of meaningful penalties for the illegal possession of a gun and for meaningful additional penalties for possessing or using a gun in the perpetration of a crime."

Note that "application" is a key word in that. It is currently a Federal offense (penalty being up to 5 years in Federal prison) for a person with a prior felony conviction to be found in possession of a firearm, or to be found having tried to obtain possession a firearm. It seems to me that strict enforcement of that alone would cover a lot of ground in this, since a large part of the of the violent crime involving guns is related to people with prior felony convictions misusing firearms.

Another large part of the problem in this has to do with firearms that have been stolen from the households of law abiding rightful owners. Not all, but most of the handguns used in violent crime are stolen property. In my opinion more needs to be done to help people secure unattended firearms, and to require in law that unattended firearms be well secured. A $1000 tax credit for the purchase and proper installation of a gun safe would be a good place to start, and I would argue that cost would be far less than the cost to society of stolen firearms being used in violent crimes.

With rights come responsibilities, two sides of the same coin. I would also advocate civil liability (not criminal liability) for failure to take reasonable care in properly securing unattended firearms. If someone's firearm is stolen and used in a crime, and if the rightful owner cannot show that he made reasonable effort to secure the firearm, that owner should have some monetary liability to the victims. And I would advocate that owners found negligent in their handling and storage of firearms should lose their right to keep and bear arms. With rights come responsibilities.

Posted by: JRT | June 30, 2008 3:53 PM

Ok, who wants to file a lawsuit regarding being unable to register a semi-auto handgun? Semi-autos are by far the most common handgun type manufactured in the US (73% of sales) and this law constitutes another ban on a weapon "in common use at the time." Just ask what nearly any cop (including the DC MPD) has carried since the 1980's and it will be a semi-auto. If they choose semi-autos to protect themselves, do we as citizens deserve less for our defense and sporting uses?

I'm beginning to think that these annoying gun laws have as much to do with keeping Republican-leaning voters from moving to DC (and usurping power) as they do providing "safety."

Posted by: Tim | June 30, 2008 7:29 PM

OK, Leftie/Progressive/Fascists, here's one from one of your heros:

"Power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
--Mao Tse-tung

Power to the people!

"For among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised"

Posted by: Hugh | June 30, 2008 8:47 PM

I am amused that you would bring the student body president of UNC into this Woodbridge. You say that if she had a gun she would be still alive. One small girl with a gun versus two large men also both armed with guns (look at her autopsy record; she was shot by two different weapons). Yep she still would be alive, because 1 person with a gun can really do more to protect themselves when their attackers also have guns. I think not. By having a gun yourself you are more likely to be shot and killed first rather than having the chance to give your attackers what they want and escape alive.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 12:46 PM

You need to step away from the liberal propaganda machine. What a load of crap! "One small girl with a gun versus two large men also both armed with guns (look at her autopsy record; she was shot by two different weapons). Yep she still would be alive, because 1 person with a gun can really do more to protect themselves when their attackers also have guns. I think not." Just how much more dead would she be now if she had a weapon there to try and defend herself? Ridiculous!

I cannot address you since you are to spineless to even use an alias but here are some real facts. Between the 1976 inception of the DC gun ban and 2002 the murder rate there increased 134% while nationally it decreased 2% that same period. In 1985 Maryland banned the liberally labeled "Saturday Night Special" within two years the murder rate there increased 20%. New York City experienced 390 murders in 1960, 19% were by handguns. After instituting the second most restrictive gun laws in the US the murder rate increased to 1,691 in 1972, 49% of which were by handguns. After passage of the 1968 gun-control act, the number of robberies jumped from 138,000 in 1965 to 376,000 in 1972, while murders committed with guns increased from 5,015 to 10,379 in the same period. According to the Census Bureau, the proportion of cases in which the murder weapon was a firearm rose from 57.2 percent to 65.6 percent.

Conversely, Vermont which has the least restrictive gun laws even allowing concealed carry without a permit or license, ranks 49th out of the 50 states in all crime and 47th in murders.

According to a 1995 study entitled "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun" by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, published by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology at Northwestern University School of Law, law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year, meaning that firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to shoot with criminal intent. Of these defensive shootings, more than 200,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual assault.

We will never know if being armed would have saved this woman's life, but it would have given her a chance. As in many such cases, proper training could have made the difference. If my mother, sister or wife were in that position I would want her to have the opportunity to defend herself. At least leave the cops a blood trail to follow when they show up after the fact to take a report.

Like other stupid liberal ideas, such as taxing our way to prosperity, gun control is a failed concept kept alive only by disinformation, emotional overreaction and absence of leadership by our pathetic politicians. Meanwhile, in the real world, states which have passed concealed-carry laws have seen their murder rate fall by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent and robbery by 3 percent. But you will not here that from the liberal propagandists in the mass media.

An armed society is a polite society, or as Larry the Cable Guy has said, "Blaming guns for killing people is like blaming misspelled words on your pencil".

Posted by: 1shot1kill | July 5, 2008 3:54 PM

24cwA2 dsgshshsh

Posted by: pppo | July 11, 2008 1:42 AM

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