October 4th, 2007 08:41 PM
Gun rights groups, other cities wary of DC appeal on handgun ban
Gun rights groups, other cities wary of DC appeal on handgun ban
By STEPHEN MANNING
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Deep inside Washington's police headquarters is a library like few others, with floor-to-ceiling racks displaying 1,700 guns, from a World War II-era rifle with bayonet to rows of pocket-size revolvers, automatic pistols and big six-shooters that look straight out of the Wild West. GIVE THEM BACK!
Most of the guns, used now for forensic research, were seized during crimes under a 31-year-old law in the nation's capital that bars handgun ownership for nearly everyone except law enforcement - a measure police have praised as a valuable tool against violence.(YOU MEAN SELF DEFENSE/INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM/SELF RELIANCE)
But that ban is now in jeopardy. The law was struck down by a federal appeals court this year, and now the District of Columbia is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in. Both sides of the gun debate are apprehensive.
The case represents the first time a federal appeals court struck down a gun-control law on the grounds that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to own guns. Up to now, courts have generally interpreted the amendment to protect only the collective right of states to maintain militias.IN OTHER WORDS, THEY FINALLY GET IT. JUDICIAL ACTIVISM BITES LIBS IN THE BUTT.
If it takes the case, the high court could issue its first direct ruling on the Second Amendment in 70 years, solidifying some of the nation's toughest gun laws or exposing them to a torrent of new challenges.
"It will be the biggest ruling on the Second Amendment ever," Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "You get nervous when you see something with far-reaching implications."
Even the National Rifle Association, which believes it might have an advantage with a conservative-leaning high court, is uneasy.
"I'd rather be on our side than on their side, given the chances, but there is always a `but,'" said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president.
Lawyers for the city and the plaintiffs, who are backed by the libertarian Cato Institute, say they believe the court will break its long silence on gun rights. NOW THAT WOULD BE NICE. NOTHING LIKE NINE ROBED JUSTICES STICKING THEIR FINGERS IN THEIR EARS AND HUMMING LOUDLY.D.C. officials say they expect to learn by early November whether the Supreme Court will take the case.
Passed in 1976, Washington's gun law is one of the nation's toughest firearms regulations. In addition to barring private handgun ownership, it requires D.C. residents to keep shotguns and rifles unloaded and disassembled or fitted with trigger locks.
Critics say the law has done little to curb violence, mainly because guns obtained legally from outside D.C. or through illegal means are still readily available.WASHINGTON DC AND CHICAGO HOLDING THE LINE FOR THE OTHER 299 MILLION AMERICANS.
Although the city's homicide rate has declined dramatically since its peak in the early 1990s, it still ranks among the nation's highest, with 169 killings in 2006.THERE IS YOUR FIRST CLUE MR. FENTY. CAST YOUR BLIND EYE ACROSS THE POTOMAC TO SEE HOW LIBERTARIANS ARE ABLE TO HOLD ONTO THEIR RIGHTS AND STILL COMBAT CRIME.
Last year, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department seized 2,656 guns, up 13 percent from 2005. Many of the guns flowed in from surrounding states such as Maryland and Virginia.
Linda Singer, the district's attorney general, said public safety is the main reason the city decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. Without the law, the city's homicide rate would probably be higher, she said.OR THERE WOULD BE A LOT OF DEAD AND SCARED RIMINALS. LETS FIND OUT.
"More guns leads to more gun violence," she said.MORE LEGAL GUNS LEADS TO MORE SELF DEFENSE. I'LL TAKE THOSE ODDS.
The Second 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."
In March, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the city's gun law in a 2-1 decision, saying it violated residents' Second Amendment rights. Washington appealed to the Supreme Court in September.
Some cities and states with tough gun laws are getting nervous about D.C.'s appeal. During the lower court proceedings, Washington had the backing of several jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, Maryland and Chicago. But fearing they could lose - and lose big - at the Supreme Court, few have publicly backed the city or filed briefs in support of its appeal.
Chicago, which has a handgun ban similar to Washington's, could be affected the most. Benna Ruth Solomon, Chicago's deputy corporation counsel, declined to comment on Washington's decision but said if the court takes the case, Chicago will "be a strong supporter of the district" and will "absolutely participate."
Helmke, of the Brady Campaign, said the group suggested to Washington that it rework its gun laws rather than press on with an appeal. A broad Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment could jeopardize a variety of laws, including waiting periods for handgun sales and California's machine gun ban, he said.
Not everyone shares the gloomy outlook. New York's criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, said a Supreme Court decision would not affect the city's laws since the state does not have an outright handgun ban like Washington. And CeaseFire Maryland, which advocates tough gun laws, said the state's gun regulations could pass muster even if the high court agreed Washington's law is unconstitutional.
Kenneth Barnes Sr., an anti-violence activist whose son was shot in the face and killed during a 2001 robbery in Washington, said a Supreme Court decision against the city would have large symbolic meaning.SYMBOLISM AND SUBSTANCE ALL WRAPPED UP IN A NEAT LITTLE PACKAGE.
"This is the capital of the United States of America," Barnes said. "What kind of message are we sending when you say we want more guns?"THE RIGHT MESSAGE. TELL THE INDIANS THAT THE COWBOYS ARE READY TO FIGHT BACK.
© 2007 The Associated Press
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
October 4th, 2007 10:14 PM
I had heard of this case but I wasn't aware the SCOTUS was about to decide whether or not to hear it. I will deinitiely continue to watch this one.
PS - I enjoyed your running commentary
October 5th, 2007 08:43 AM
Is it me, or does it seem that the anti's are much more scared and nervous than the ones on our side?
Could it have something to do with them knowing that they have been pushing an unconstitutional agenda for a long time and now it may get seriously slapped down?
October 5th, 2007 08:57 AM
Where has this guy been. The court is taking the case. Last I heard it is one of the onse to be heard this go around.
October 5th, 2007 10:06 AM
As far as I know, it is on the docket, but SCOTUS has not yet granted cert. That should be decided this month.
Originally Posted by Musketeer
October 5th, 2007 03:49 PM
Here is the news from the site of the lawyers involved.
October 6th, 2007 12:44 AM
Thanks, Musketeer. Good resource for keeping up with the progress. Can't wait for early November...
October 6th, 2007 05:01 AM
Interesting....one quote from LaPierre (NRA)....multiple quotes and stats from "anti-violence" organizations....
- know the difference
is a fancy name for crappy fighter
You have never lived until you have almost died. For those that have fought for it, life has a special flavor the protected will never know
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