Up until 2008, guns were, wisely, banned in the District of Columbia. That year, the Supreme Court ruled that those laws were unconstitutional in D.C. v. Heller. Now a federal judge has ruled that D.C. must stop enforcing its vestigial laws regarding handguns in its environs. D.C. citizens can now carry — open or concealed — handguns.
The ruling, handed down by Senior District Court Judge Fredrick Scullin Jr., also mandates that out-of-state permit holders can carry in D.C.
The implications of this ruling are mind-boggling. The Capitol is not like any other city; it is the center of our government. Because of this, there are many important places — courthouses, agencies, national monuments and museums, the Capitol building and the White House — that might present a target for anyone with a grudge and a gun.
We’ve seen several shootings in D.C. including the Naval shipyard in 2013, a siege and shooting at City Hall in 1977 and John Hinckley’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981. Our nation’s capitol is a huge draw for nutjobs with guns.
The ruling is being challenged by D.C. attorneys and the court has been asked to stay its decision until the outcome of a formal appeal. The city may also revise its gun laws to bring them in line with the ruling. No matter how this turns out, there are still laws that allow the banning of guns in places like schools, federal buildings and federal parks.
So, there’s that at least.
Washington, D.C. is the cradle of our democracy and the officials of that city were correct in banning guns there. With the history of this country rife with assassinations and attempted assassinations, having guns freely carried there is a frightening thought.
The plaintiffs who originally brought this case to the court say that they did so on behalf of the fine, law-abiding, sane gun owners of Washington, D.C. who couldn’t even carry their guns outside their homes. Unfortunately, this ruling may bring the not-so-law-abiding or sane gun nuts running to the Capitol.
h/t Mother Jones