Thursday, July 17, 2008

D.C. gun ban lifted -- sort of

In response to the Supreme Court's D.C. v. Heller decision, which declared correctly that gun ownership is an individual right that doesn't have to be connected to a militia and D.C.'s outright ban on handgun ownership was therefore unconstitutional, the D.C. City Council has eliminated the outright ban -- but kept in place a series of restrictions likely to draw future legal challenges. The D.C. law that had required long guns to be unloaded, disassembled or trigger-locked was applied to handguns also. They must remain inside homes. Eye and written exams are required to register one. Officials gave out 58 applications the first day but registered only one gun.

I haven't talked to Bob Levy, who financed and masterminded the case that resulted in the Heller decision, but while the court's decision explicitly left some leeway for restrictions on handgun ownership, Scalia most prominently mentioned not allowing felons or the mentally ill to have guns legally, as well as perhaps proficency requirements. I suspect that the disassembled requirement will be challenged and won't stand up. But then predicting Supreme Court decisions is something of a fool's game. In any event it will take a long time and quite a few court cases to determine the real extent of the Second Amendment right.

1 comment:

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Joan Stepsen
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