Here Comes DC v. Heller, Round Two

There should be a ban on semi-automatic draconian restrictions.

Dick Heller was one of the first in line to apply for his DC Handgun Permit, after Washington D.C. has reacted to its previous handgun ban being struck down by the Supreme Court. His permit was denied because his handgun has a detachable magazine. Even if he uses magazines that don't exceed the arbitrary limit of 10 cartridges, because it accepts magazines that could be larger than this, the entire gun is classified in the same category as machine guns.

Apparently DC has a reading problem, as the ruling from the Supreme Court said this in the penultimate sentence of the summary:

Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.

The handgun Heller tried to register was a Beretta 92, a bigger brother to the Beretta 84 which Pennsylvania was attempting to ban in the infamous Act 17. That attempt led me to move from Pennsylvania to Oregon over a decade ago. Both the 92 and 84 have 10-round magazines available, but also have magazines with greater capacities available as well. Apparently these guns are not welcome for self-defense in DC homes, despite their broad popularity. I have a couple of 92s myself.

That DC does seem to be issuing permits for revolvers is immaterial to the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that DC must issue a license to Heller for his handgun.

As it says in the majority opinion for DC v. Heller:

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.

Update: Turns out I'm wrong about which kind of handgun Heller tried to register, as he never tried to register a Beretta 92. Apparently that is a misremembered fact from the Emerson case mis-applied to Heller.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Jul 17 2008 10:30 AM

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