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When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban in the Heller case, the District’s Dems rushed through a package of restrictive gun laws. According to, “Washington requires residents who want to keep a gun at home to be fingerprinted and photographed by police [what about the gun owner?], provide a five-year work history, and note their intended use of the weapon. Residents must register every firearm they own every three years. Applicants must allow police to run ballistic tests on each gun they register. Firearms defined by the city as assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets are banned.” [Click here for the official drill.] Not to mention the $60 fee or the District’s ban on open carry or the impossibility of getting a concealed carry permit. Anyway, yesterday, Heller lawyer Stephen Halbrook asked a three-judge appeals court to tell D.C. to cut that shit out . . .

The D.C. solicitor general said MYODB. Of course, I’m paraphrasing. But this is the watershed moment for gun rights. If the federal judges rule against D.C.’s new regs, the loophole opened by the Supremes in the McDonald decision—allowing for “reasonable restrictions”—will start to close. Once again, Chicago will be next. And then everywhere else.

Meanwhile, the actual he said, she said . . .

Halbrook told the judges the Supreme Court determined the Second Amendment right to own a gun is a fundamental right, limiting the scope of government restrictions.

The solicitor general for the District of Columbia, Todd Kim, replied that the city has authority to keep tabs on who owns guns within its borders and to keep out certain types of weapons.

“Our constitution guarantees a right to keep and bear arms, but not to keep guns secret from the government or possess military style weapons and high capacity magazines,” Kim said in court.

Here’s hoping Mr. Kim has to define and defend a military-style weapons ban and justify a high-capacity magazine ban in front of the judges. And that Halbrock gets a chance to rebut. And that we get to read the testimony.

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  1. I must have missed the part in the Bill of Rights which said "…except military-style weapons* and high capacity magazines." The Second Amendment says something about a militia, which leads me to believe the Framers weren't thinking bird guns and plinking pistols, but to be safe I checked the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, too. They didn't say anything about military-style weapons, either. I wonder what that means?

    * Seriously, this contention is hilarious to me as a historian. I'm trying to think of any type of firearm available to civilians which didn't use a military-style firing mechanism or have other military-style design characteristics at the time the Constitution was written. Answer: there aren't any.

  2. I know we beat this horse frequently, but the First Amendement doesn't mention anything about the internet, CNN or high speed digital presses, but we all agree that its implied that the newest best technology is protected if its going to forward the exercising of our Rights to their ultimate degree. If you agree that the pen is ightier than the sword (or gun) which I largly do, then there's no case to be made for limiting the Second as D.C. is trying to. I become very suspicious of an politician/bureaucrat/governemnt employee that thinks only they can have the "real" guns.

  3. Ralph, the Founding Fathers knew enough to distinguish between arms and artillery. If the Second Amendment protected your right to keep and bear artillery, then by all means, open carry your M777 howitzer or RPG.

    As for your extension of the reasoning to weaponized smallpox, I don't think you can make a logically sound case that biological, chemical, or nuclear agents are arms in the conventional (pun intended) sense, or that their weaponization suddenly makes them eligible for Second Amendment protection.

  4. What you miss is that the Supreme Court already ruled what arms are protected by the Second Amendment in the 1939 Miller decision. (And, Heller specifically stated it did not overturn Miller). All arms commonly used by the ordinary foot soldier as his personal weaponry are protected. (Scalia tried a sleight of hand to stretch that to mean "Commonly Owned by Civilians" in Heller, but the actual Miller meaning was ordinary use by a foot soldier / militia man, not just a civilian.) Basically, any arm suitable for militia duty is protected. THAT includes assault rifles, SMG's, any handgun, rifle, shotgun and yes, short barreled trench shotguns. the case went back to the lower court to develop evidence of use of short barreled shotguns in militia service, but Miller died and the case was never concluded. The Miller definition does not include what would be called "crew-served" weapons or modern extensions of them (artillery and rockets) as these are not the ordinary weapon of the common foot soldier. The whole biological/RPG/nuke thing is a bogus red herring so stop spewing it.

    Miller laid out WHAT was protected, Heller laid out WHO was protected, and MacDonald laid out who we are protected FROM.

  5. That old 'military style' idea again? Does that fool not realize that ALL guns are 'military style' since ALL guns have a military pedigree?

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