Federal Court overturns DC gun ban. (Updated)

In some outstandingly good news, the US Court of Appeals in DC has ruled against the government of DC and has overturned its ban on gun ownership.

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the District of Columbia’s longstanding handgun ban, issuing a decision that will allow the city’s citizens to have working firearms in their homes.

In the ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected city officials’ arguments that the Second Amendment right to bear arms only applied to state militias.

In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment “are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia.”

This couldn’t be clearer – the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a right of the state and the ban against lawfully owning a gun in DC is in violation of the Constitution. DC will, no doubt, appeal the decision and it might go to the Supreme Court. I certainly hope they do so the decision can be affirmed, either through a direct ruling by the Justices or by virtue of their refusing the appeal. Once the citizens of DC have their rights restored to them, they can begin to arm themselves and then we’ll see how the criminals who have used the place as a safe hunting ground fare. DC residents should follow this victory up with demands to enact Castle Laws so that residents can respond to invaders with deadly force and not be the ones treated like criminals.

In the midst of this good news, however, is a fact that is simply stunning and clearly defines the outline of a judge who needs to be removed from the bench and disbarred so as never to contaminate another court room in this country. The panel voted 2-to-1 in favor of overturning the bans, recall. How about that one? What was this judge’s reason for voting against?

“The district’s definition of the militia is just too narrow,” Judge Laurence Silberman wrote for the majority on Friday. “There are too many instances of ‘bear arms’ indicating private use to conclude that the drafters intended only a military sense.”

Judge Karen Henderson dissented, writing that the Second Amendment does not apply to the district because it is not a state.

Am I reading this correctly? A Judge, allegedly someone who knows and reveres the law, is suggesting that the Constitution of the United States does not apply to citizens of America residing within the borders of the United States unless they live in a state? She is asserting that, by virtue of their mailing address, these citizens are not to be accorded the protections of the Constitution?

It is simply impossible that this is merely a misunderstanding. This woman’s position is antithetical to the notion that all citizens’ rights are protected by the US Constitution, the highest law of our land. Such a person does not belong in the robes of a judge, not in this country in any case. I am amazed that such an individual ever made it through law school, let alone managed to get onto the bench. Here’s hoping the Justices of the Supreme Court can show her how it’s supposed to be done.

Update: The Washington Post has a story on the subject and it quotes DC Mayor Fenty as saying they’re going to appeal the decision. Gotta love this money quote, tho:

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) called a news conference this afternoon to announce that the city would pursue additional appeals. “I am personally deeply disappointed and frankly outraged by this decision. It flies in the face of laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of Columbia,” Fenty said.

He said the city will “do everything in our power to work to get the decision overturned and we will vigorously enforce our handgun laws during that time.”

The Mayor should have a look at his gun violence statistics and compare himself to places in Florida and other localities where the right to keep and bear arms hasn’t been infringed. His violence stats are coming up on the losing side of the equation. He’s got to know that, which begs the question of why he’d want to pursue what’s been proven as a multi-decade-long failing approach.

I’ve read the court’s decision and they explicitly find that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Read it for yourself here.

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