Supreme Defiance: D.C. City Council Still Trying to Shred Second Amendment
by GREGORY D. LEE
August 6, 2008
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the District of Columbia's ban on firearms was unconstitutional, the City Council approved new firearms legislation that allows residents to apply for handgun permits. This is the normal course of business a governmental body takes when the Supreme Court determines whatever it was doing was unconstitutional. That is unless it's the D.C. City Council that's acting unconstitutional.
The Associated Press headline was "D.C. will accept gun-permit applications." But the real headline should have been, "D.C. defies Supreme Court ruling on handguns." That's because the City Council refuses to follow the ruling of the court concerning the lawful possession and use of handguns within its city limits.
The Court made it clear that the possession of a handgun for lawful purposes is constitutional - and a citizen's right is violated if the government requires him to dismantle the weapon. The new gun possession legislation the childish D.C. City Council unanimously passed does allow the possession of a handgun or other lawful weapon like a rifle or shotgun. But a condition of the permit to possess a weapon is that the firearm be kept unloaded, disassembled or equipped with a trigger lock unless there is a "reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm" in the home.
One man's "reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm" is another man's capitulation. By virtue of FBI murder statistics showing D.C. is a literal shooting gallery, a reasonable man would perceive he is in constant threat of immediate harm while living there.
But I digress. The City Council is hell bent on defying the Supreme Court and doing whatever it can to deny its residents the constitutional right to own and possess a firearm in their abodes for self-protection. D.C. City Council member Phil Mendleson, who helped write the bill said, "This is not perfect legislation. The first step is what we have before us today so that we maintain important provisions in our gun registration law while we continue (to) look at how we can further refine our gun registration law."
Translation: We're going to stall, postpone and tweak this bill for as long as possible, and hopefully nobody will notice that we are defying the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the majority opinion of the Court, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: "The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment . . . Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional." What part of "unconstitutional" doesn't the D.C. City Council understand? Did anyone read the Court's opinion, or are they being openly defiant? Either way, it's about time the Congress spanked the City Council and took away its self-governance because it has once again proven itself incapable of self-rule.
While they were at it, the City Council prohibited the possession of a "machine gun." That sounds reasonable, but in typical D.C. fashion, the Council incorrectly defined what a machine gun is. The council defined a machine gun as a weapon that shoots at least 12 rounds without reloading. That's not a machine gun, that's a semi-automatic weapon with a high-capacity magazine. All they had to do was call the national headquarters of the NRA, which is in their city, and someone there would have been glad to tell them exactly what a machine gun is. They might even show them one. But, like most liberals, they just make this stuff up as they go along.
If I lived in the District of Columbia and was inclined to possess a firearm for home protection, I wouldn't be too concerned about abiding by the provisions of the city's permit mandating that I unload and dismantle my firearm. The U.S. Supreme Court has already decided those provisions of the permit are unconstitutional. So, it's a no brainer my conviction would be reversed on appeal. The City Council has actually written an ordinance that it knew beforehand was clearly unconstitutional. Only corrupt or dishonest politicians knowingly violate the U.S. Constitution, and then pat themselves on the back for making more trouble for the citizens whose rights they have violated.
I'd love to see U.S. marshals arrest the D.C. City Council members and bring them to the Supreme Court before Justice Scalia, who would remand them into custody and hold them in contempt until they authored a city ordinance that complied with the Constitution.
Well, I can dream, can't I?
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired DEA Supervisory Special Agent. In 2001, as an army reserve officer, he served at the Pentagon's Army Operation's Center's Anti-Terrorism Operations Intelligence Cell. He writes a weekly syndicated column for North Star Writers Group and can be reached through his website: www.gregorydlee.com.