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D.C., DOA

DC Mayor Reacts To Supreme Court Ruling On DC Gun Ban
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Well, the finally did it. I first mentioned it years ago, when this blog was in its infancy. So I guess now I should say, thank you Kay Bailey Hutchison. Thank you. By the time you take your ass back to Texas, there will undoubtedly be more guns on the streets of Washington, D.C.

The court’s 5-4 ruling strikes down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision goes further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said the Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”

O.K. conservatives. I’ve got some questions.

As far as I know, the ruling doesn’t affect D.C.’s situation on concealed carry. But, let’s face it. An awful lot of people aren’t going to be keeping their “piece” tucked away in the nightstand for home protections. A good many of them are going to be carrying them around for whatever purposes, some of them less-than-lawful. That’s actually on place where D.C.’s former gun law had the effect of helping police keep the streets safe, according to one of my readers.

As a former DC resident and current resident of Texas, I made a point of writing to KBH about this one. Here’s the really important point about the DC gun law: it lets police get people off the street for other charges. So if someone gets picked up for some medium-bad offense for which they might get immediately released until a trial date, if they have a gun, they can be kept behind bars. If KBH has her way, more of those folks will be out on the DC streets. Nice, huh.

The problem, of course, is that KBH doesn’t give a shit about DC; it’s just a way for her to score political points here in TX.

Now, I’m sure some conservative is going to pipe up that the Supreme Court decision will make the streets safer because more people will have guns. So, the next time there’s a shooting — as happened in Kentucky recently — there’s more of a chance that some armed citizen will stop the shooter and thus save lives.

But tell me this. Don’t more guns mean more crossfire? And doesn’t more crossfire mean more dead citizens? Hear me out on this. Let’s say I’m walking down the sidewalk on my way to take the Metro home, when someone starts shooting pedestrians. Now, it happens that more people have guns, and whether they’re supposed to or not, they have their guns with them. Besides, the “OK Corral” ideal isn’t possible unless people are carrying guns. Let’s face it. A gun in your nightstand doesn’t do you a bit of good if a shooting breaks out at the grocery store or the grade-school, right?

So, these armed citizens start shooting at the initial shooter, in the middle of a crowded sidewalk or playground. And one of them hits him. Lives are saved, right? Well, that’s if you don’t count the innocent bystanders that the would-be citizen gunslingers probably hit. I’ve lived in D.C. for about 14 years now, so I think I’m fairly qualified to say that most of the people who live and work here not likely to qualify as marksmen or snipers in the near future. In fact, if every other random person on that theoretical sidewalk had a weapon and tried to use it to stop the shooter, I dare say that more of them would hit their fellow sidewalk denizens than would actually take down the shooter.

So, my chances of ending up dead are actually better, depending on how you look at it. I don’t live in D.C. anymore, but I do work there, and I don’t think the Supreme Court made me any safer today. Not even a little.

My guess? There’s gonna be a whole lot more dead folks in D.C. And, given the demographic, more dead black folks.

And if you think I’m going to say what you think I’m going to say about the likelihood of D.C.’s black population increasing come January, just in time for this ruling to have taken effect … well, you’re crazy. And I’d be crazy to say it, right?

But I’m probably not the only person who’s thought of that.

[Gun Fighter photo via xandert.]

5 Comments

  1. From the opinion:

    Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. … [N]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

    You:

    An awful lot of people aren’t going to be keeping their “piece” tucked away in the nightstand for home protections. A good many of them are going to be carrying them around for whatever purposes, some of them less-than-lawful.

    Non sequitur. Criminals use legal objects for illegal purposes all the time. That is simply not enough of a reason to infringe upon the rights of non-criminals to access those objects.

    Bottom line: Courts don’t kill people; people kill people.

  2. While I agree with a lot of what you post here, I think I might have to disagree here. Is there any reason to believe that the people who will now carry concealed weapons were not doing that before? That is, would people who obeyed the handgun ban ignore the concealed weapon ban?

    I’m also a bit surprised that you cited an opinion that suggested handgun laws could be a way to keep “those folks” off the streets when there was insufficient legal reason to do so otherwise. That’s the exact opposite of the way I want the police to be treating me, or anyone for that matter.

  3. The 2nd amendment give the right of the people to bear arms — but it does not explicitly say which ones. So, could the state not make the case that, the government can certainly prohibit certain types of armory, but not *ALL* types of armory. So, even though the state may prohibit gun ownership, for example, it does not mean a person cannot own a knife or a sword.

    Could the case not be argued, then, that prohibition on ownership of biological weapons with a targeted delivery system (like anthrax spray bottle of some sort) cannot be enforced, because it constitute a right for their owners to bear arms? Would the same not apply to bombs (nuclear or otherwise)?

    How about outlawing bullets? — you can own the gun, but not the bullets (except for rubber ones)

  4. Lucas, the opinion is littered with references to “for self-defense” and “not excessively dangerous” and similar language.

    Indeed the old 1939 case, Miller, which rejected the “individual rights” view, was a case about sawed-off shotguns, which even this Court says are not covered by the Second Amendment, at least not in public.

  5. Kip, yes, I understand that. But I guess, my point was, that the “for self-defense” and “not excessively dangerous” is *NOT* in the constitution…. While any reasonable person would agree with the logical compromise in setting limits on interpretation of “bear arms” to exclude excessively dangerous weapons and such, however, it then becomes a slippery slope, where a line is drawn at gun ownership. It seems, that the line drawn to include or exclude gun ownership is completely arbitrary, depending solely on one’s take on what “self-defense” and “excessively dangerous” mean.

    What all of this usually boils down to, is the right of private citizens to the use of deadly force in “self defense”. Now, given that the line for limits on the 2nd amendment is drawn arbitrarily, gun ownership becomes a matter of “preference”. My amazement in these matters is always, what makes gun ownership so special to warrant such a passionate advocacy.

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