DC City Council hearings on gun law
Why is the DC Council even hearing (and Marion Barry even proposing) a (temporary) repeal of its handgun prohibition? I dunno. To moot the Parker case, and prevent it from doing the damage it might do, in a Supreme Court appeal, to the antigun cause? Or because they doubt the gun law's effectiveness? Either motivation would require more judgment and foresight than I'd easily credit to Barry or the Council. I have no third explanation.
Marion Barry proposed this prior to the Parker decision - a few weeks before if I recall correctly.
Posted by: Carolina at March 22, 2007 08:56 AM
This temporary reprieve was proposed before the Parker decision was handed down. As you point out, it was probably an attempt to render the Parker case moot. It is too late for that now. Why they are continuing hearings on it is anyone's guess, but it does make some sense in that Mayor Fenty has (at a public press conference) signaled his intention to ignore the ruling and continue to enforce the unconstitutional ban. Sadly, the Metropolitan Police Department has agreed to go along with the mayor. A move to change the law via the city council, could prevent the Mayor from being held in contempt of court as with gun confiscating Ray Nagin in New Orleans. In any event, the 90 day window proposed is wholly unacceptable because the Firearms Registration Unit could never handle the increased load. Even at the best of times, a typical new registration (following the massively bureaucratic and inept DC process) takes approximately 60 days. Additionally, as soon as the window closed, the city would be vulnerable to a 100% repeat of the Parker complaint.
Posted by: anon at March 22, 2007 09:12 AM
On second thought, I have your third explaination:
The DC government is just being it's usual inept & incompetent self.
Posted by: anon at March 22, 2007 09:15 AM
Anyone catch today's snafu on the House floor over HR 1433? Rep. Lamar Smith threw a monkey wrench into the process by recommitting the bill back to GROC to add an amendment striking down D.C.'s archaic definition of a machinegun--and the D.C. gun ban itself?
Why do this now, after Parker? I smell a rat. To me, this is the GOP not wanting the NRA and its millions of supporters to go away. If this bill passes and Bush signs it into law, there is no need for a 2A US Supreme Court review of the case.
Posted by: Poshboy at March 22, 2007 02:50 PM
Poshboy: Parker still stands if it doesn't go to the SCOTUS. So no problem there.
DC's definition of 'machine gun' (as interpreted in DC by the Waffen MPD) outlaws rifles as innocuous as a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60. Also, because of how DC laws are written/interpreted, even after Parker, not a single modern semi-auto pistol can be registered (because of the same asinine machine gun definition). Parker, was important for what it said, but the net effects are only to allow revolvers to be registered, and armed self defense in the home.
Even after Parker, DC's laws are still patently unacceptable, and action still needs to be taken by congress to free DC citizens from such arbitrary restrictions.
There's no rat. Overall, I don't think the proposed additions make the bill any less likely to pass. In fact, since any DC house vote is going to be assured 100% tow the line Democrat for the foreseable future, adding the pro-gun rider to something so appealing to Dems is probably the only way to get a reduction of DC's absurd gun restrictions through a Dem controlled congress.
Posted by: anon at March 23, 2007 08:35 AM
To finish: I know a lot of people want Parker to go to SCOTUS because they think the good guys are assured a win, but keep in mind, this is the same SCOTUS that decided Kelo v. New London. The SCOTUS as it stands is not a reliable friend of individual rights.
Posted by: anon at March 23, 2007 08:38 AM
Anon, I understand your reasoning. Makes sense to me. Just wanted to see if others thought the same way.
And yes, as much as I would like to see Parker before SCOTUS, I recognize the 5-4 risk that exists. But I have been in this fight for so long that I am eager to have SCOTUS render a decision, just so we all know where we stand. Being in limbo for so long is tiring... ;)
Posted by: Poshboy at March 23, 2007 10:26 AM
If the laws we challenged are repealed before the appellate process is completed, Parker will be erased from the books and dismissed.
And if there are 5 collective right votes on the Supreme Court, you'll discover that very quickly as they take the next 2nd Amendment case -- almost certainly, a drug dealer/felon in possession or similar kind of case.
The choice is not between our case and no case. The choice is between our case and the NEXT case, before the Supreme Court as it is likely to look in the immediate coming terms.
We are comfortable arguing the case before the current Supreme Court. But we are certain we have more votes for Parker than the public defender will have in two years for some criminal.
Congress needs to be educated on this issue. There are many good votes that can be taken on the D.C. gun ban without destroying our case and, in effect, probably hurting the Second Amendment.
We have yet to see a single coherent argument as to how, if our case is vacated, this issue will magically go away, and the dozens of collective-rights decisions entitled "U.S. v. " somebody won't percolate to the Supreme Court in the immediate future. Expressing fear over the outcome of our case is not an answer. Nobody controls the criminal defense bar.
Posted by: Alan Gura at March 23, 2007 02:10 PM
"Nobody controls the criminal defense bar."
Miller and Emerson are good examples.
Unfortunately, although the NRA knows this (it was discussed at a Board meeting in '93 or '94), they are so afraid of losing that they can't risk winning. A win, of course, will cut off ILA's cash pump (or so they fear). No money, no jobs.
Posted by: 30yearprof at March 23, 2007 05:04 PM
Mr Gura, thank you for the clarification of the impact of a DC law repeal by congress. I wholly agree that yours is the best/purest 2nd amendment case we are likely to see before the SCOTUS. I wish you the best of luck. Frankly, I'm a little sorry I didn't know about it during the formative stages, or I would have offered to join.
As for the NRA: the ILA will have plenty of work to do until 'shall issue' with national reciprocity is the law of [all] the land. Even after that, there will be a constant battle against the GFWs.
Posted by: anon at March 26, 2007 08:24 AM