Political Editors / May 18, 2016

Courts Shoot Down DC's Gun Policies — Again

Perhaps DC will get a clue and realize a right is a right.

Building on the 2008 Heller decision that struck down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled against the city’s latest policy limiting the right to bear arms. Specifically, the city restricted permits only to residents who could convince bureaucrats they needed a gun for protection. The court said that stymies Americans’ “core right of self-defense.” Undeterred by Heller, DC has actively looked for ways to impede citizens from acquiring firearms. But the Supreme Court was clear: There is a right to self-defense and certain government policies infringe that right. Judge Leon wrote, “The District’s understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind.”

This ruling comes on the heels of a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court, which took issue with a California county’s attempt to squeeze out gun stores from its jurisdiction through regulation. With these two rulings, perhaps DC will get a clue and realize a right is a right, no matter how much city leaders don’t like it. Or perhaps they’ll continue bull-headedly looking for new ways to infringe basic constitutional rights.

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