Two of the biggest culprits are Chicago and Washington, D.C., the very cities where the Heller and McDonald cases were bom. Both cities, and in the case of Chicago, its bedroom communities as well, have fought tooth and nail to maintain the harshest restrictions possible as the courts have forced them, through one expensive lawsuit after another, to roll back the corners of their blanket bans and overreaching restrictions. In the process, the cities have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to keep those taxpayers disarmed.
Last year, Federal District Court Judge Frederick Scullin ruled that D.C.'s ban on the carry of firearms outside the home was unsupportable in light of the Heller decision, so the D.C. government implemented new laws providing for licensed concealed carry, but making the process as expensive and onerous as possible, and including a number of outrageous restrictions, including one requirement that a person seeking a license to carry a gun must prove a special need to do so. Just living in one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country, or one of the most dangerous neighborhoods within that city, was not considered sufficient under the D.C. law. An applicant was required to produce specific threats aimed at them personally, and even then, Police Chief Cathy Lanier could deny the applicant for any reason, or no reason at all. Judge Scullin has now struck down that requirement.
The judge's ruling came down in response to very narrow and specific complaints from plaintiffs in the case which was sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and is being led by Alan Gura, the same attorney who represented Dick Heller and Otis McDonald. This ruling didn't touch on other components of the D.C. law, most outrageous of which is the ban on carry within 1000 feet of any US or foreign "dignitary." This provision by itself constitutes a de facto ban on carry virtually anywhere in the city. The arbitrary "1000 foot rule" was popularized in the federal Gun Free School Zones Act, What most people don't realize is that 1000 feet is somewhere between two and three city blocks, which makes it almost impossible for anyone not specifically exempted under the ban to legally carry through any city or town in the country.
Just look at the maps posted at Alan Korwin's excellent website, www.GunLaws.com. Then imagine this 3-block "no carry zone" around every "dignitary" in Washington, D.C. Lawful carry in the city could only be marginally possible in the poorest neighborhoods--where the residents could never afford the fees and training costs required by the D.C. law.
The case is ongoing, and Gura is continuing to file motions to strip away this thoroughly unconstitutional law piece by piece. In the meantime, visiting D.C. is relatively safe as long as you stay in the more prosperous sections of the city, but one has to wonder why the citizens tolerate politicians who insist that their own citizens are less responsible, less trustworthy, and less law-abiding than the citizens in most of the rest of the country. The more cynical observer might suggest it has something to do with the color of their skin and their level of dependence on government subsidies, but of course that would be ridiculous since D.C. is completely controlled by "progressives," and everyone knows "progressives" are colorblind and class unconscious. Right?
This case, like several others around the country, has lawyers and judges disagreeing while citing the same sections of the Heller and McDonald decisions to support their conclusions It is painfully obvious that the Supreme Court needs to settle the disagreements and insert some clarity, especially since most of these lower court decisions are trending away from the clear intent of the Second Amendment.
But for some reason, SCOTUS has doggedly refused to take up any of the several cases that they could have used to clear up the matter. Until that changes, cities and states will continue using taxpayer money to defend laws that do nothing but place those taxpayers in jeopardy from criminals and the law.
Both Heller and McDonald were decided in 5 to 4 decisions, so the outcome of any of these cases remains in doubt. Now, with several of the Justices getting up there in years, the future of the Court's Second Amendment cases is very probably going to depend upon who is elected President in 2016. The stakes couldn't be higher.
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