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Judge nullifies DC gun carry prohibition

Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a landmark decision, Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. of the U.S. District Court issued a ruling that the current Washington, D. C. ban on handgun carry is unconstitutional. Examiner David Codrea has a full report available HERE.

But doncha go packin' heat to thet Warshington Monument jus' yet - -

- - because Judge Sculling granted a motion by the defendant, the District of Columbia, to Stay his decision pending appeal.

Readers are encouraged to go to the links above and read the rulings. Unlike most court decisions, these are relatively short, concise and easy to read. Here is an excerpt from Judge Scullin's order:

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, 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. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

So, what does this mean to you in Tennessee? It looks like sometime in the (near?) future, you will be able to carry in the Nation's Capital, with limitations. Time will tell, but here are some considerations:

  • Your Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit may not be any good in DC
  • You may have to apply for and receive a DC permit before you can carry there
  • The DC permit will be expensive
  • Locations you can carry to will be extremely limited
  • The National Mall, which includes the Washington Monument pictured above will probably be a prohibited zone
  • The Metro will probably be a prohibited zone
  • Some parking lots, like the VA parking lot in Knoxville will still be prohibited zones, as a Tennessee pastor learned in 2010
  • Really not much different from Tennessee; the big difference being that there is so much Guv'mint in DC, one will be able to carry in the car, and in some private venues, but hardly anywhere else

As Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) Executive Director, John Harris told me soon after the Tennessee carry law was passed, you can carry everywhere except where it is prohibited.

The ninety day stay will give the Washington power structure time to draft legislation implementing the judge's ruling. Expect them, like Illinois, to make the process difficult and expensive. Those with a monopoly on power don't give it up willingly. But, take heart, it will be wrested from them bit by bit, just as has been done, and will continue to be done here in Tennessee.

If you are not a legal scholar, it might be easy to miss the judge's use of the phrase, "any level of scrutiny".That is really a slam dunk for Palmer et al; and for the rest of us.

As these things do, it will take time to shake out, but Kudos to Alan Gura, the lead attorney, and Alan Gottlieb, the master chess player, who has underwritten, through the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), most of these successful Second Amendment civil rights cases. Gottlieb, in talking with Guntalk's Tom Gresham, says this win,

. . . opens up more and more gateways for us to challenge more and more laws . . .

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A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)

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Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.