Bob Barr

Alexander Herzen, an 18th century writer from Russia, once quipped, “There is nothing in the world more stubborn than a corpse: you can hit it, you can knock it to pieces, but you cannot convince it.” Today, such a description could apply to unconstitutional gun control laws, which received what should have been a death sentence in 2008 with the Heller decision, only to languish on despite being knocked to pieces in court in the half dozen years since that seminal decision.

In Heller, one of the most important rulings for liberty in recent American history, attorney Alan Gura successfully sued the D.C. government; in the process overturning its blatantly unconstitutional, 1970s-era ban on firearms. Heller clearly affirmed the individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment; as contrasted to the mushy, collective right interpretation long-favored by gun-grabbers like Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emmanuel. Gura then successfully sued the city of Chicago, which resulted in the High Court’s 2010 McDonald decision, thus extending Heller’s ruling to local governments across the country.

Following these two landmark Supreme Court rulings, other lawsuits picked apart the anti-gun apparatus in federal court. Yet, as stubborn as a corpse can be, anti-gun state and local government officials immediately began fashioning new ways to undermine the restoration of gun rights in their jurisdictions. Officials in Washington, D.C. -- ground zero for the modern day resurgence of the Second Amendment – refused to comply with the letter and intent of those Supreme Court decisions.

For example, the District forces its residents to obtain a permit to carry a firearm outside of the home; but the City steadfastly has refused to institute a process enabling citizens seeking to so defend themselves, to obtain permits. In essence, the city created a de facto ban on carrying firearms in public, all the while claiming to comply with the intent of the Heller decision. One can see why Gura has been so busy.

Fortunately, half a decade worth of post-Heller litigation paid off last week, when federal district court Judge Frederick Scullin ruled D.C.’s permitting scheme to be unconstitutional. “In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny,” wrote Scullin, “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.”


Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.