The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has declared Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban UNCONSTITUTIONAL on grounds that it violates the Second Amendment’s GUARANTEE OF THE INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT TO POSSESS FIREARMS.
Click the link to read the opinion. Oh, yes, you’ll want to read it. It’s AWESOME!
Snarkiness aside, this was the result of what has been a long, massive and carefully-crafted effort by hundreds of committed attorneys to develop the right kind of 2A case to bring before the Supreme Court, and at the right time.
Really, this is huge. When I was in law school just over ten years ago, the idea that a Federal Circuit Court would have handed down a ruling like this was unthinkable. The wave of pro-2A legal scholarship was, although not quite in its infancy, definitely in the toddler stage. The decision yesterday would have not been possible without developing this legal scholarship that allowed the court to defend the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment.
It took a LOT of behind-the-scenes effort by a LOT of committed Federalist Society and other pro-2A legal minds to get to this point. For example, most of you are probably not aware that when I was in law school, the NRA held an annual contest for the best student-written 2A law-review article. The winner of the contest received, IIRC, a year’s tuition at his or her law school, up to $50,000 in value. It was easily the richest law-review-article contest in the country by a factor of ten, and I’ve no reason to believe they stopped after I graduated.
Read the decision. It is well-written, non-technical for the most part, and almost every paragraph leaves me grinning even wider. It’s as stirring and rousing an endorsement of the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as one could have hoped to see at this point. And it’s a great lead-in to the almost-inevitable Supreme Court decision within a year or two.
Note that even the majority opinion in this case does NOT address the issue of whether or not the Second Amendment applies to the States (a legal concept called “incorporation” based on the post-Civil-War Fourteenth Amendment). It also makes very clear that it DOES support the idea of “reasonable limitations” on the right to keep and bear arms, similar to the limitations on First Amendment rights that have been declared Constitutional over the years.
Some advocates will probably gripe that this opinion (and any Supreme Court opinion that develops from it within the next couple of years) doesn’t say that CCW is an absolute right, or that everybody has the right to own a Class III firearm without restriction. Well, tough cookies! To them and well-meaning fools like them, I say: grow up and start helping our cause instead of hurting it, or get out of the way. This decision, and everything that led up to it over the last two decades, is the way to successfully go about securing our 2A freedoms in the Federal Courts so that they can never be taken away by our legislators. This is not.