Archive for December 10th, 2006

A Personal Right

December 10, 2006

I have long argued that one needs not be an attorney to understand the Constitution of the United States. The Founders were wise people, and wrote the document in a way that anyone with basic intelligence could easily understand what it means. Big government authoritarian types constantly challenge that premise though. Just what did my father, and so many others die for? Certainly not to be abused by power mad politicians.  Washington D.C. is constantly among the most crime ridden cities in the United States. It also has some of the most draconian laws regarding ones right to defend oneself, family, or others in distress. Whether there is a correlation between those ignominious status’s is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the common citizen is at the mercy of every petty thug that happens to come along.

What follows is a possible remedy to such government abuses of the people that reside, or visit the nations Capitol.

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Cato Legal Scholars File Second Amendment Challenge to Washington, D.C. Gun Ban
Regulations are unconstitutional; residents have the right to defend themselves in their homes

WASHINGTON – Two Cato Institute scholars announced today that they have filed a civil lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. federal court on behalf of six plaintiffs to vindicate the right of D.C. residents to defend themselves in their home. Robert A. Levy, senior fellow in constitutional studies, and Gene Healy, senior editor, joined by two other D.C.-based attorneys, argue in their complaint that “the Second Amendment guarantees individuals a fundamental right to possess a functional, personal firearm, such as a handgun … within the home.” But D.C. officials “enforce a set of laws [that] deprive individuals, including the plaintiffs, of this important right.”

The Cato Institute is not itself involved in the litigation, but Cato scholars have argued consistently and vigorously that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of responsible adult citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense. That is the same position now taken by respected legal scholars − both liberal and conservative − by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the recent Emerson case, and by the U.S. Justice Department in friend-of-the-court briefs filed before the Supreme Court. Yet the D.C. city council, which is controlled by Congress and indisputably constrained by the Second Amendment, has enacted one of the most draconian gun bans in the nation. No handgun can be registered in the District. Even pistols registered prior to D.C.’s 1976 ban cannot be carried from room to room in the home without a license. Moreover, all firearms in the home must be unloaded and either disassembled, or bound by a trigger lock. In effect, no one in D.C. can possess a functional firearm in his or her own residence.

The lead plaintiff, Shelly Parker, resides in a high-crime neighborhood. As a result of trying to make her neighborhood a better place to live, Ms. Parker has been threatened by drug dealers. She would like to possess a handgun within her home for self-defense, but fears arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and fines because of D.C.’s unconstitutional gun ban. A second plaintiff is a Special Police Officer who carries a handgun to provide security for the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center. But when he applied for permission to possess a handgun within his home, the D.C. government turned him down. Other plaintiffs include a gay man who has been assaulted on account of his sexual orientation, and the owner of a registered shotgun who cannot lawfully render her gun operational.

The plaintiffs are asking the federal court to prevent D.C. from barring the registration of handguns, banning the possession of functional firearms within the home, and forbidding firearms from being carried from room to room without a license. “This is not about carrying a machine gun on the streets,” says Levy. “It’s about having a garden-variety handgun in your own home.” Healy adds that “the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to defend your property, your family, and your life. No government should be permitted to take that right away.”

The lawsuit is Parker v. District of Columbia and the full text of the complaint is available at

More about this; Appeal

Self-Defense vs.Municipal Gun Bans

When Hale DeMar shot an intruder in his house, he may well have saved his children’s lives. So why was he charged with a crime?

On the night of December 29, 2003, Morio L. Billings was AWOL from the Army, in violation of his probation, and driving a BMW X5 sport utility vehicle he’d stolen less than a day earlier. The 31-year-old was staying with his mother in Chicago, but he wanted “blow and crack” badly enough to risk yet another jail stay. He had been taken into custody at least six times in 2003, with police alleging residential burglary, receiving stolen property (twice), driving while suspended (twice), auto theft (three times), and possession of a controlled substance.


Another Perspective
Playing Chicken Roulette
By Robert A. Levy & Alan Gura
Published 3/15/2005 12:05:47 AM

Imagine that your local government makes it a crime to engage in an activity that you believe to be constitutionally protected — like possessing a handgun in your home for self-defense. Imagine further that the weight of legal scholarship, from liberals and conservatives alike, holds that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms. Too bad if you live in Washington, D.C., where you may be faced with a Hobson’s choice. You can forego possessing a gun for self-defense, and perhaps suffer personal injury. Or you can defy the law, illegally own a gun, use it to defend yourself, then risk arrest, prosecution, fine, or even incarceration when D.C. authorities investigate your “crime.”


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