Although the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in 2008 that the District of Columbia’s previous handgun ban violated the Constitution, gun grabbers erected hurtles to make it harder for law-abiding residents to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Criminals don’t care about gun laws, but 40 years ago, the city council banned handgun ownership for residents unless the guns were registered before 1976. Those owners had to keep their weapons unloaded and disassembled in their homes.
After the high court ruled that the Second Amendment grants an individual (as opposed to “militia” only) right to keep and bear arms, the district required owners to give a “good reason” to carry. A visiting judge struck down this requirement, but an appeals court ruled that he had no authority.
After some legal wrangling, it appears the way might be clear for D.C. residents to carry handguns without the “good reason” restriction. The Washington Post reported that a district court declared this impediment a violation of the “core right of self-defense.” An excerpt:
“The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,” Leon wrote in a 46-page opinion, quoting a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2008 in another District case that established a constitutional right to keep firearms inside one’s home.
Leon said the right applies both inside and outside the home.
“The District’s understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind,” he wrote.
Pending litigation, D.C. can’t enforce the restriction.
Several states allow law-abiding residents to carry without obtaining a permit, known as constitutional carry. Missouri lawmakers recently passed such a bill. The Democratic governor likely will veto it, but the legislature can override it.