We have had some rather unsettling headlines lately in our nation's capitol city. Things like this: D.C. homicide rate reaches 103, some residents on edgeThe Metropolitan Police depart keeps daily stats.
Following the 2008 District of Columbia V. Heller decision which stated in part,
The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are "arms" for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock." "Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975."
After Heller, DC passed new gun control laws
, and the homicide rates continued to decline in the city.
And, although the Supreme Court's decision adopted the broader, individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Court also made it clear that the right to own a gun continues to have a number of significant qualifications or restrictions, including:
Not everyone can own a gun. The right does not extend to felons or the mentally ill.
Guns cannot be carried everywhere. Laws forbidding individuals from carrying firearms in "sensitive" places, such as schools and government buildings, will probably stand.
Certain restrictions on the sale of guns are allowed. Laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms will most likely stand.
Individuals do not have the right to carry certain types of guns. The right does not protect guns that are not generally owned for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. Just what kind of handguns may be possessed is not explicitly set forth in the opinion (apart from the one specific reference to sawed-off shotguns, which are not allowed). The Court did endorse the "the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons,'" but did not state whether such weapons include assault weapons or semi-automatic weapons.
Concealed weapons. Laws forbidding people to carry concealed weapons on their person (or in a place close at hand, such as the glove compartment of a car) probably remain valid.
Sentence enhancements. A variety of criminal laws provide for increased punishment of offenders who use weapons when committing a crime. Heller does not affect the validity of these laws.
And life went on. Then last year, a federal judge overturned DC's handgun laws
Based on previous court rulings striking down gun laws in D.C., Chicago and elsewhere, “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,” Scullin wrote in his 19-page decision, which was unsealed on Saturday.
“Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”
The case against D.C., which is the only jurisdiction to ban people from carrying handguns in public, was brought by several people who tried to obtain permits for carrying a weapon but were denied.
Scullin’s ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia will prevent police from enforcing the law, at least for the time being.
Shorty after that decision, DC decided to drop its appeals.
And here we are, with 103 homicides in DC.
Tell me again how stricter gun control is ineffective in slowing down murders?
Now I will admit that the Mayor and Chief have made it clear that the influx of the guns in the city are being brought in from surrounding states
. That doesn't excuse the gutting of city laws about guns. With the NRA fanning the flames of fear about guns being taken away, is it any surprise that Congress is proposing just that?. The NRA is asking that tourists that visit the city be allowed to bring in guns
Despite these rulings, the NRA contends that the strict gun laws in Washington, D.C., make it all but impossible for people to carry firearms around the city.
Twenty-one residents have qualified for concealed carry permits in Washington, D.C., according to the police department.
"They want to be more restrictive than they’re allowed to be under the Constitution, which is the problem,” an NRA official told The Hill. “They’re not looking to make it reasonable for law-abiding citizens and difficult for criminals. They’re making it difficult across the board.”
But the new Republican legislation could change that.
The Second Amendment Enforcement Act would expand the city’s concealed carry laws, making it easier for residents and tourists from other states to legally carry firearms in Washington, D.C.
"A lot of American tourists visit Washington, D.C. They want to view the Capitol and the museums, but they also want to be safe," the NRA official said.
Gun laws are an effective deterrent. What is happening in the District right now is proof that repealing laws sends the message to people that anyone can do anything anytime. The result: 103 homicides so far in this year.
Feel safer now?