Time for Congress to Stop D.C.’s Anti-Gun Shenanigans

Bob Barr
|
Posted: May 20, 2015 12:01 AM
Time for Congress to Stop D.C.’s Anti-Gun Shenanigans

Since the landmark 2008 Heller v. District of Columbia case, which Second-Amendment lawyer Alan Gura argued before the Supreme Court, anti-gun officials in the nation’s capital have spent every waking hour trying to avoid doing what the high Court ordered be done: allow District residents to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

Gura has been fighting them every step of the way; and on Monday, was victorious once again, as a United States District Court granted his injunction to stop the city from requiring concealed carry permit applicants to demonstrate a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”

“The fact that a person may have a greater need for self-protection says nothing about how limiting the carrying of handguns to such individuals would result in a reduction of risk to other members of the public or reduce violent crime,” wrote District Judge Frederick Scullin in slapping down D.C.’s latest effort to undermine the Heller mandate. It was Scullin who, last year, struck down D.C.’s de facto ban on guns through regulations that failed to provide a system to obtain concealed carry permits, despite requiring them for carry in public. In echoing his earlier opinion, Scullin remarked in his most recent directive that the city’s specious new “good reason”/“proper reason” requirement, “makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The outrageous conduct of the D.C. government to evade its duty to uphold the Second Amendment ever since it was first handed a defeat in Heller, is a case study for how many local and state governments react to an increasing number of rulings in favor of gun rights. Rather than accept the now well-established fact that citizens possess an individual right to keep and bear arms, many local and state governments employ all manner of procedural maneuvers and regulatory tricks, to inhibit this right while falsely claiming to be following the judicial rulings.

Their plan is to buy time and wear down pro-Second Amendment forces; and at some point perhaps to find a sympathetic liberal judge to support their dilatory actions. Fortunately, there are pugnacious lawyers like Gura, and courageous judges like Scullin, who will not be intimidated or worn down.

But fighting the anti-firearm forces is expensive and time-consuming – including the cost to taxpayers. For example, the District of Columbia was required to pay Gura and his legal team $1.1 million for the Heller case, and even this amount was stiffing Gura for what he was actually owed for his many years of work on the case -- close to $3.6 million.

Also often overlooked, is the double standard anti-gun Democrats apply when inventing new ways to stymie the Second Amendment, contrasted to their hysterics when they perceive Republicans to be even remotely challenging the rights and privileges they so highly cherish.

Consider voter ID laws. States that have dared to assert the right to protect the integrity of their elections with voter ID laws were threatened and intimidated by Democrats, all the way up to the Department of Justice under Eric Holder, for the negligible impact the cost of a government-issued ID required for voting, might have on minority groups. Meanwhile, the cost of acquiring a concealed carry license in Illinois, driven up by regulatory burdens, created a racial disparity so great that only 10 percent of licensees are non-white.

Yet, only in the case of voter ID laws did Holder describe the actions of government to be “political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious rights.”

The net effect of these shenanigans, if D.C. is to be any example, is an endless series of lawsuits, appeals, rulings, and dodging that keeps Second Amendment attorneys like Gura constantly in the courtroom, taxpayers on the hook, and the Bill of Rights hostage.

If D.C. citizens had any sense, they would use Monday’s ruling as the final straw to put pressure on Mayor Muriel Bowser to fire Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who seems utterly deaf to understanding basic orders from now multiple courts, that the right of the people in “her” city to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

It appears time for the Congress, which has ultimate authority over the District of Columbia, to step in and force these scofflaws to follow the Constitution and court rulings, even if they don’t like it.