Dick Heller and some other plaintiffs have filed a new suit against Washington D.C’s “revised” gun law. Of course the leftists were not going to take Heller sitting down, when have they ever cared what the Court said (except when it comes to abortion rights). Here are some of the offending parts of the new DC gun law restrictions -

  • A ban on all self-loading handguns (which is nearly all handguns) – DC defines these as “machine guns.”
  • Allowing registration only upon the payment of an unspecified fee for ballistic testing of the handgun.
  • The self-defense provision of the new law allows guns in a home to be loaded and unlocked only when someone is using it to protect themselves against a “reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm to a person within the registrant’s home.” This is a very narrow exception and places a high burden on the right of self-defense.

So clearly what the DC city council is trying to do is limit what it is that a gun owner may do, but in so doing they are clearly violating the 2nd Amendment. For instance, they want to limit handgun possession to a person for home defense only. It is illegal to acquire a handgun for recreational target shooting, to practice, or for hunting in surrounding areas. In fact, it seems from the way the law is written that it is even illegal to unlock the gun in order to clean it.

One thing I’m not clear about (indeed I don’t know if anyone is) is what standard of scrutiny the Supreme Court will use to analyze 2nd Amendment cases. Without boring you too much with law school jargon, certain laws (such as those that touch on race/gender/religion) are analyzed with a much higher degree of scrutiny (called strict scrutiny), requiring a “compelling governmental interest” in order to remain Constitutional. There are also other levels of scrutiny that require a lesser standard of review which gives government more deference when reviewing laws they pass. It is hopeful among gun right advocates that the 2nd Amendment will receive the same degree of review as the 1st Amendment e.g. that any government law passed that restricts the 2nd Amendment is justified by a compelling governmental interest and narrowly construed to be the least burdensome means of pursing that interest. Clearly under that level of review, the new DC handgun laws are all unconstitutional.

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