Previous Post
Next Post

Dick Heller

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that the District of Columbia’s handgun ban was unconstitutional, the city has done everything in its power to make actually owning a gun as difficult and expensive as possible. If you need proof, all you have to do is read some of Emily Miller’s stories about what she had to do to legally purchase and possess a gun our nation’s capital. And that legal obstacle course prompted Dick Heller to file a second suit (commonly known as Heller 2) against D.C. arguing that those barriers to ownership constitute an unconstitutional infringement of the right to keep and bear arms. Today, however, the DC District Court has ruled in favor of the District. You can read the court’s opinion here. Next stop, SCOTUS. Probably.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. The linked opinion is not from the D.C. Circuit (an appellate court) it is from the District Court for the District of Columbia (a trial court, one level down).

  2. Sadly, I think SCOTUS has well established that they aren’t going to touch a Second Amendment case with a ten-foot pole.

  3. In light of them not hearing Drake how likely are they to take this case?

    If they do I am not sure this is going to be as helpful as we might like. Heller 1 makes the prohibition on weapons in common use illegal so “assault weapons” may be made legal in DC but Heller 1 also allowed reasonable restrictions so all the hoops may be upheld which legitimizes all those dumb rules.

    Of course as we also discovered in Heller and then McDonald what happens in DC stays in DC and we will need another case to take the results nationwide.

    • The chance is absolutely zero until the mid-term elections are over and probably until after 2016. SCOTUS always has an eye on politics before the law.

  4. We must keep up the pressure on all fronts of this fight. We need to apply the philosophy of total war to fighting for 2a, hopefully minus the violence. When (notice I didn’t say if) we win in the slave states and cities then total victory will be in sight

  5. From the opinion: “the question is whether the legislative conclusion was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence in the record.”

    This is how these laws are going to be upheld all of the time. All an anti legislative body has to do is call as witnesses the mother of murder victim, an ER Doc, and a Police Chief and *POOF* — Assault Weapon Ban and Mag Capacity Limit…

    • That argument pisses me off to no end because anyone could apply that argument to any right.


      Someone exercising their right to free speech could incite a riot or humiliate a person to the point that the victim commits suicide. Of course if we eliminate free speech we will eliminate people inciting riots or humiliating victims to the point of suicide. Presto! No more free speech and our courts uphold the ban because it will (supposedly) save lives.

      Someone exercising their right to be free from unreasonable searches prevents police from catching a murderer who goes on to kill more victims. Of course if we eliminate our right to be free from unreasonable searches and allow the police to search anything, anyone, anywhere, any time, for any or no reasons, without a warrant or probable cause, police will capture more criminals. Presto! No more freedom from unreasonable searches because it will (supposedly) save lives. (Hidden down side: male officers strip search female “suspects” en-masse on the streets because a woman might be hiding contraband.)

      I could go on but you get the idea. How do we stop this abomination in the courts?

  6. I’m hoping for a win and lending my political and financial support to pro-gun causes. With that being said, I don’t have much faith in the next higher level of federal court or with SCOTUS. Sometimes it takes a lawyer or a judge to say 10,000 words without actually saying anything.

  7. The right to keep and bear arms… how much of the right is even recognizable when the People must fight and beg government blessing at each turn. Disgustingly criminal, overall repugnant, and down right tyrannical!

  8. FYI – If appealed, this will most likely go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, not SCOTUS. The D.C. Circuit was the one that ruled in Dick Heller’s favor in the original DC v. Heller.

  9. Also, to aspiring lawyers – it is a good idea to avoid scaring and/or offending the judge. See pages 34-35. Good grief!

  10. What did you expect from liberal east coast,deny your Constitutional rights,judges? A west coast court of appeals judge ruled ;AK-47s were not covered under the 2nd Amendment….,go figure.Time to start recalling Judges especially the ones who graduated from the school of BOZO!

  11. “Faced with this evidence, the District questions whether Canada’s experience is relevant
    to its own, given that our northern neighbor comprises several sparsely populated, rural
    provinces while D.C. is a dense, entirely urban jurisdiction.”

    ROFL, token example of American ignorance of Canada. Because Canada doesn’t have cities…and the U.S. doesn’t have rural areas.

        • I think the beer comment by Ralph was intended to be sarcastic. If not, then it’s another token example of American ignorance. +1 to your comment Anon, and give me a Labatt’s any day.

  12. Gotta love the parts where firearms policy requires special deference to the legislature, because mere deference is not enough. or, not.

    The opinion is mostly, how to write the conclusion you want 101.

    • So true. I believe the judge came to his conclusions before the trial even started. His casual dismissal of how poor the evidence supporting the registry and AWB was utterly disheartening.

      Plus, Boasberg’s dismissal of the abysmal failure of the Canadian gun registry because of “sparse population” is criminally stupid. Toronto has 4 times the population of DC. In fact, Calagry, Ottowa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Mississauga, and Edmonton all have higher populations than DC.

      In short, Boasberg is an idiot.

  13. All I see in the ruling is conjecture and speculation about what long guns “might” be capable of or what kind of public risk they “may” cause. Par for the course.

  14. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: these courts will find ways to uphold these assault weapons bans. And all it is doing is establishing precedent for future courts to uphold these bans. And even if the SCOTUS did agree to hear such a case, what makes everyone think the Court would strike it down? Roberts might well pull another Obamacare and find a way to uphold it.

    • +1

      It’s in government’s interests to restrict the right to keep and bear arms as much as it can get past the People. Except for a few individuals in position of power every now and again making correct rulings, the right of the people to keep and bear arms has been shamefully infringed, Nothing exists to motivate government to not hobble the militia except government’s fear of that militia. The more toothless government makes the militia, the less government has to fear from it. The Second Amendment describes the balance to tyranny and that isn’t the usurped power of Judicial Review. Continue to allow even the infringements already on the books and our free nation will be lost.

      • I don’t personally think it has anything to do with fear of the people so much as the fact of these judges mostly just being anti-gun. It should be a pretty clear, cut-and-dried issue, that these assault weapons bans are unconstitutional. It would be like finding ways to uphold various “Hate Speech” bans if enacted in various areas, and claiming that there could be dangers to public safety from this or that forms of speech. But many of these judges do not even believe in the individual right to keep and bear arms unfortunately.

        • Right, they lack an appreciable fear of the People, aka the militia. They believe that they can pretty much rule as they desire without anything more than lip service to the Constitution. If government properly feared the militia, it wouldn’t be so fast to even pass such blatantly unconstitutional law. They no longer fear reprisal by the people. (Besides, the judges are appointed for life. Tyrants in black robes…)

        • I believe this line is where the confusion came from: Nothing exists to motivate government to not hobble the militia except government’s fear of that militia. What I was stating is that fear of the militia is all that ever ultimately motivates government to not hobble the militia. I wasn’t meaning just today. If government, any government, can disarm the people, it eventually will. If it believes that the people will defend themselves with force, then government is strongly motivated to leave the right to keep and bear arms alone. It was a general statement rather than a specific one.

  15. My personal favorite is this section

    “As to the first point, the Supreme Court has stated explicitly that the government satisfies intermediate scrutiny if its predictions about the effect of a challenged law are rational and based on substantial evidence – it need not establish with certitude that the law will actually achieve its desired end.”

    How in the ever living hell do you get to make laws without some kind of certitude or caveat that suggest that if the law is ineffective that it gets repealed within a certain timeframe. So if I represent the government and I suggest that it will increase public safety by giving myself the power to arrest anyone found guilty of wasting water and hold them without trial, all I have to do is get 5 “expert witnesses” to agree with me to get it passed? I don’t have to prove with certitude or hard data that my law will work, just “reason and logic” that it might work.

    May God pity us.

  16. My God, intermediate scrutiny is such crap.

    In the opinion: “As to the first point, the Supreme Court has stated explicitly that the government satisfies
    intermediate scrutiny if its predictions about the effect of a challenged law are rational and based
    on substantial evidence – it need not establish with certitude that the law will actually achieve its
    desired end.”

    So basically, as long as the government says so and provides “evidence” (even if it doesn’t actually achieve the end goal) its a ok?

  17. Wow…

    Here’s my plain English summary of the Court’s legal analysis:

    -DC Council only needed to prove that it resonably believed that its registration laws MIGHT reasonably be accomplish their stated goals of FIRST protecting cops and also making the public more safe.
    -And even if that’s not a reasonable belief, so long as the laws MIGHT keep the problem from getting much worse, good enough.
    -OPINIONS from managament level cops meet that burden and actual statistical evidence is unnecessary.
    -Nevertheless, DC Council offered such evidence through it’s one semi-scholarly witness
    -The fact that Heller’s much more accomplished witness offered a lot of evidence that showed DC Council’s cop opinions and expert are wrong/lying, doesn’t win the day. Rather, they should take that up with DC Council*, not the Court.
    -The Court will defer to the Council, even when proven wrong.
    -The end.

    *Essentially, the Court is saying here that “Well, it sounds like you’re correct, but we’re not overturning the Council. You should make your argument to them directly and beg them to change their position based on it. Also, f*ck your rights, because they’re no different from car ‘rights’.”

  18. Judges are in contempt of court. fine them and put them in jail, suspend their license to be judges. If they are going to infringe upon a right then they are not upholding the constitution.

  19. This really is like something from Lionel Hutz on the Simpsons. Intermediate scrutiny is clearly a joke.

    “As already established in this Opinion, however, the District need not prove with empirical evidence that its firearm regulations will have their intended effect, see Part III.2.b, supra – it “may rely on any evidence that is ‘reasonably believed to be relevant,’” Alameda Books, 535 U.S. at 438 (quoting Renton, 475 U.S. at 51-52), including “anecdotes . . . history, consensus, and simple common sense.” Lorillard Tobacco, 533 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted). The expert testimony here – as well as the commonsense notion that training gun owners in firearms safety and regulation will likely reduce accidents and increase accountability – is enough for the provisions at issue to survive intermediate scrutiny.”

  20. If you live in the District of Columbia, what other outcome could you possibly anticipate? Medical Marijuana has been in place in DC for about 5 years, but no mechanism for distribution (meaning dispensaries) has ever been established. It’s a farce, like every other thing in the District.

  21. I read the brief or filing or whatever ( I am not a lawyer, can you tell?)

    “The district can do whatever the hell it wants short of a total ban. Some cops said registration works, so intermediate scrutiny”

    I hope I saved someone the trouble.

  22. “DC District Court Upholds DC’s Assault Weapon Ban, Registration Requirements”

    I hope this doesn’t surprise anyone.

  23. “BREAKING: DC District Court Upholds DC’s Assault Weapon Ban, Registration Requirements.”

    In other news, water is still wet. More at 11.

    That’s basically the sum of my thoughts on this.

  24. Of course SCOTUS isn’t going to touch this. Why would they want to bring peace to the nation and allow us all to focus on things that might do the country some good. They are a tool of the Federal government.

  25. I go along with my Brother, where he says that any law written should be able to be understood, by a tenth grader in high school. Not where you have to have a law degree to understand just part of it. I can’t see tacking on gun registration and etc is going to do any thing more than make it harder for law abiding citizens own guns legally. What percentage of the gun crimes in Washington D.C. up until 2008 was done by a person that was legally allowed to own and carry a fire arm. When the laws in D.C., was as bad as those in Chicago, the crime rates were terrible, an still are Chicago. All you have to do is look at Mexico to see what banning firearms from the civilian population will do. Let alone all those third world countries out there.

  26. I question why every court challenge (regardless of topic) should use anything less than strict scrutiny. If legislation can’t stand on its own merits then it should be struck down. Isn’t it kind of the the SCOTUS’s job to keep the other branches in check?

    • That’s what the Court supposes to do and made claim to that power in Marbury v. Madison. However, it is debatable as to if it legitimately holds that privilege under the Constitution. Is Judicial Review clearly an enumerated power of the Court? I don’t believe so.

  27. “The Second Amendment requires the District to justify its firearm-registration
    requirements by presenting substantial evidence that they will achieve important governmental
    interests and that they are narrowly tailored to such ends.”

    Oh, so that’s what the Second Amendment says now?

    This is a clown court.

Comments are closed.