The Courts and Gun Law News
Jeff Soyer on 04 Oct 2011 06:50 pm
Strike a blow for gun rights in the District of Columbia. From SFGate:
Washington, D.C.’s ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines doesn’t violate the constitutional rights of residents in the U.S. capital, a federal appeals court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today also upheld registration requirements for handguns put in place after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 ended the city’s almost total ban on firearms. The three-judge panel ordered a lower court to further review other aspects of Washington’s gun control law, such as its limits on multiple purchases.
The three judge panel voted 2-1 in favor of Washington, D.C. Judge Douglas Ginsburg, writing for the majority (PDF file):
“The District has carried its burden of showing a substantial relationship between the prohibition of both semi- automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and the objectives of protecting police officers and controlling crime.”
I just got home from work and haven’t read the entire ruling to understand their rational. Perhaps — it wouldn’t be the first time — I’m off base here but, what about the objectives of protecting law abiding citizens? Shouldn’t they be able to own a firearm equal to any that someone(s) with criminal intent might assault them with? Even if the victim could reach his cell phone and dial 911, he’d still be a statistic by the time the cops arrived.
The average response time of the D.C. cops to a 911 call? For “Priority One” calls — the highest priority, well, read it for yourself:
The statistics, contained in the department‚Äôs fiscal 2005 budget performance report, show that the average response time for the highest-priority calls ‚ÄĒ Priority 1 ‚ÄĒ was 8 minutes, 25 seconds in fiscal 2003, up from 7 minutes, 19 seconds in fiscal 2002 and 7 minutes, 47 seconds in fiscal 2001.
That’s the most recent reference I could quickly find. Let us assume that nothing has changed and use the figure of eight minutes response time to an emergency — “Priority One” — call. You’re being attacked in your home, your car, your front yard. The thugs have guns. It’s you against many. We don’t know how any scenario would actually play out until it’s over and the coroner arrives but, would the potential victim be better off with a handgun magazine containing only 10 bullets, or with one containing — for example — 21?
Remember the slogan of the N.Y. Times? “You don’t have to read it all but it’s nice to know that it’s all there.” You hope you never have to use the fire-extinguisher hanging on the wall of your kitchen but isn’t it nice to know it’s there? You don’t have to fire all 21 rounds from your Glock but, isn’t it nice to know that you could, if your life depended upon it?
When a bunch of thugs attack you and each has a gun with at least 10-rounds in it, wouldn’t you like to have more than 10-rounds in your own defensive weapon? The firearm that you are holding is all that defends you and your family from these probably murderous criminals.
Getting back to Ginsburg’s ruling, the objective of the Second Amendment isn’t about protecting police per se but rather about the ability of the citizen to protect him/herself and their family, their property, from thugs in D.C. . . or, an out-of-control federal government also well armed.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.