March 1, 2009
U.S. Senate votes to quash DC gun registration
A “news” item yesterday in the Washington Post said that the Senate gun rights amendment to the bill providing the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House of Representatives “will turn the nation's capital into one of the easiest places in America to own a gun.”
Even if this were true, that would be a good thing, but unfortunately it’s not true – the amendment merely repeals gun registration, a practice largely unknown in the United States. The “registration” of guns amounts to a repugnant “prior restraint” of Americans’ constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.
Even the Post admits that at most, only “[a] dozen states, including Maryland, require handgun owners to register their weapons with authorities or obtain licenses to possess them.” But this “14” number is way overblown, so let’s disaggregate that statistic:
Handgun Registration: Only 4 states require all handguns to be registered - Hawaii, Michigan, New York, and Massachusetts. But visitors and new residents can bring their handguns into Hawaii and Michigan without prior registration (i.e., "prior restraint”), unlike DC.
And though California requires new residents to register their importation of handguns, they have 60 days to do so and just have to fill out a simple form and mail in to the California DOJ. Further, new California residents may bring any handgun they own, not just new handguns on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale, which DC now misuses as an absolute list even for guns being brought into DC by new residents or through intestate transfer.
Permits to Purchase: While a few states require a permit to purchase a handgun but these pre-Brady Act era state “permits” amount to simply a redundant “pre-background check background check.” Missouri recently repealed their permit to purchase scheme for this reason.
Long Guns: DC also requires registration of all long guns, something not required by any state except Hawaii, and then again, only for new residents!
Finally consider that most states preempt cities on gun control completely and only two states, Illinois and New York, appear to let cities restrict gun ownership in the home. In other words the Senate amendment just closes the loophole in federal law which allows DC to restrict gun ownership rights, even in the home.
Take Action: Call your Congressional Representative and tell her to stand tall and join the Senate in telling DC: If you want to vote in America's house, respect Americans' gun rights! Leave the voice mail loud and clear.
Check out other Gun Rights Examiners:
- Austin: Obama: The anti-civil rights president?
- Charlotte: Guns and the Constitution: The 'well regulated Militia'
- Cleveland: Canadian media can also lie about guns
- DC: No right to arms, no vote in Congress!
- Denver: Changing hearts and minds
- Los Angeles: Gun control in churches, Part II: The Militia
- Minneapolis: Open carry is the 2nd Amendment
- National: Queens councilman brandishes gun in church!
- St. Louis: 'Protecting' children . . . from the ability to defend themselves