Thursday, January 15, 2004

No Gun Rights for DC

For the past week, I've been living in a "gentrifying" neighborhood in inner-DC. Every night, I pass a crack house on the way back from work. I think of the fact that the people charged with enforcing the gun laws are the same ones charged with enforcing the drug laws, shiver a bit, and replay the game plan in case I’m attacked. Carrying a gun seems to me like a pretty smart option.

Now, DC does not only disregard the “right to carry,” it requires that guns be kept at home “unloaded, disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.” Yesterday, the U.S. District Court decided that this does not violate the Second Amendment (see CNN and The Washington Post).

Shockingly, the decision states that “in any event, the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia,” relying on Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954), and District of Columbia v. Carter, 409 U.S. 418 (1973), Supreme Court decisions saying that the District is not a state, and that the 14th Amendment did not apply here. I’m sure District residents, workers, and tourists will be thrilled to find out that they are not guaranteed due process and equal protection in the nation’s capital.

I find it rather ironic that the Mayor praised this decision, considering that DC consistently insists that it is like a state, and should be treated as such, including having its own primaries. It is even more ironic that Judge Reggie B. Walton was nominated to his current post in 2001 by President Bush, and prior to that promoted by G.H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

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