Palmer vs. DC (Right to Bear Arms)

It only took 5 years for the district court to release the opinion. That, and the fact that the attorney had to file two Writ of Mandamus to attempt to force the court to issue their opinion. Some background:

Well, this weekend the opinion was finally released:

So from at least Saturday after this ruling was issued to probably on Monday or Tuesday when the district scrambles, DC is constitutional carry with no permit required.

Currently the 4th, 7th, and 9th district has recognized carry outside the home as part of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd, 3rd, and I believe 5th districts have ruled in the opposite.
This is just at the district level, and will likely not be the end of this case. But it is a clean case to take to SCOTUS if DC doesn’t appeal in some fashion. What should be the appropriate limit for carry permits, if a permit is necessary at all, and what sort of scheme would be constitutional?

New article today from Volkh:

Not quite constitutional carry, but pretty close to it for non-prohibited non-residents and for residents who already have a permit to own until and unless a stay is issued.

What I took away from the original Heller decision was that the majority was uncomfortable with outright bans, but didn’t want to declare that laws regulating guns were ipso facto unconstitutional. If DC had come up with a permit system, even a ridiculously restrictive one, the court might have gone along. But DC insisted that regulation included “regulate out of existence”, and the court simply couldn’t go along with that. The phrasing “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny” indeed makes the court sound reluctant.

Other ridiculously restrictive permit systems have been declared unconstitutional in recent years. After all, the entire purpose of making them ridiculously restrictive is to regulate them out of existence.

It is pretty clear that some level of regulation of carrying a firearm in public is permissible.

Personally, I think the herculean efforts and expense necessary to own a gun in DC is unconstitutional.

Yepper. Let’s look at what it took for one law-abiding citizen to get a gun after the Heller decision:

Emily Gets Her Gun: The Journey Begins
Inside D.C.'s gun registry
D.C.’s only gun source
Steps to gun ownership in D.C.
Who’s eligible for a gun in D.C.?
Learning to shoot a gun
Washington’s unsafe, gun safety class
Taking the D.C. gun safety class
Interstate Travel for a D.C. Gun
Choosing a gun
Making guns near D.C.
Getting a gun in Virginia
Why I still haven’t bought a gun in D.C.
I bought a gun, but…
Transferring a gun into D.C.
I will testify before D.C. city council about guns
Applying to register a gun in D.C.
My testimony at D.C. city council
Running D.C.’s gun-owner gauntlet
My gun registration is approved
Emily got her gun!

From October 5, 2011, to February 8, 2012.

I don’t really have anything to add here, except some context and content. From The Washington Blade

From the Pink Pistols: “Armed gays don’t get bashed.” Self defense is everyone’s right.

Yesterday the DC police issued a memo that detailed how they will act following the ruling. The memo is consistent with what I posted in post #2 - though there is instruction to note any non-resident found carrying for potential further investigation.

No word yet on if there is a stay on the ruling or not.

And today a stay on the ruling was issued:


I predict an appeal. I certainly appreciate DC and Chicago funding efforts to fight for gun rights.

And the immediate reaction from some DC council members was to say they were consulting experts to draft the most restrictive regulations that could pass muster. So in addition to already ridiculous requirements to register a gun, they are contemplating further more ridiculous requirements to carry the gun. I wonder if they would get a “stay” if they strike down DC’s registration requirements as too restrictive.

I followed this series and I was a little surprised at how many aboslutely unecessary obstacles were put in place. Requiring $500 in fees is ridiculous. Thats a months rent for a lot of people in DC to buy something that might cost $200.

I suspect there is a case somewhere suing DC over how burdensome these laws are. I hope that some judge asks them if they didn’t understand what Heller meant.

I look forward to carry permit laws that are equally burdensome if not moreso.

Why anyone would take Emily Miller’s columns seriously is beyond me. The complaints on the process (which has not been in place for a couple years now) are so ludicrous, not to mention the slightly cheesecake photos of her with various guns in silly poses.

Seriously, she complains that when she was given a list of firearms instructors, her calls went to voicemail.

She complains about needing to get a ride to a gun store just 10 minutes outside of DC, but apparently it isn’t a huge deal for her to get a ride to the Beretta factory that is about 35 minutes outside of DC (and you have to drive through Anacostia to get there!!!).

She is repeatedly unable to follow directions, and of course that isn’t her problem, it’s those mean DC Democrats – errr, DC bureaucrats. I read that whole series of columns when they came out, and based on her total incompetence, I find it difficult to believe she has a valid registration on her car or if she has filed taxes in the last dozen years.

You’ve identified a couple of complaints as ludicrous, but she makes more than a couple.

For example, she points out that the requirements include a D.C.-certified instructor to give the required firearms safety course, but city laws do not permit the required course to be given inside the city. Many of the instructor names listed on the sheet the city police gave out showing DC-certified instructors were “independent.” That is, they taught the class in their homes. As Miller points out:

Do you believe this is a legitimate complaint, or a ludicrous one?

Just slightly less ludicrous than her feeling unsafe in the parking lot of a gun shop.

Guess what - the DC DMV probably hands out a list of driving instructors, and I’ll bet you anything that not all of them are located in the Tysons Corner upscale shopping mall.

If I give you a list of 47 possible vendors for a service, you’re free to choose one that comports with your preferences, including their location. The idea that if any of them operate a business out of their house (and is it no longer true that many Federally-licensed firearms dealers also do not have a storefront business?) brings the whole list under suspicion is just more evidence that she’s a first-class dolt who is looking for things to complain about.

By the way, Emily Miller’s articles make it out like it takes anyone four months to register a firearm in DC. It took Dick Heller about 30 days to register his first gun with the city under the exact same rules, which have since been relaxed.

Her complaint was that not one of the instructors was in DC. This is in sharp contrast to DC driving schools, of which there is no lack within the DC city limits.

And this wasn’t a market problem: DC law did not permit the instruction to be given in DC.

Why do you bring up federal firearms dealers? The issue here was instructors licensed to teach the DC-approved firearms instruction course. There is no relevance to whether federal firearms dealers have to have a storefront or not. She’s not seeking a federal firearms dealer.

So, again, her complaint is that no one who teaches the approved course does so in DC, that the list of DC-certified instructors is out of date, inaccurate, and gives no guidance for whether the instructor is part of a company or a self-employed guy working from his basement. She points out that, as a woman, she has concerns about dealing with the latter.

None of that strikes me as ludicrous. Do you still disagree? If so, why?

Dick Heller was a security guard who already had the requisite training; he didn’t need to take it as part of the process.

I see, I guess signing up for a class in someone’s basement does tend to take about 90 days.

I understand that the heart of the matter here is that the DC government did not allow such instruction, but as a practical matter, a DC resident complaining that they can’t have various services within city limits falls on deaf ears with me. Want to go to an airport? Oh my gosh, you have to leave DC. Want to buy a new car? Either you buy a VW or you have to go to Maryland or Virginia. Want to buy golf clubs? I don’t think you can actually buy a set of irons anywhere in DC anymore. Want to play paintball? Yep, out of luck. How about if you want to plant a tree in your back yard? Well, there’s that Home Depot on Rhode Island Avenue, otherwise you’re headed for the suburbs.

The idea that life in DC sometimes involves trips to the suburbs to do things is like saying that it can be warm here in July. No kidding, Sherlock.

So explain to me why firearms instructors operating out of their house is a significant concern, when it is also perfectly legal to buy a firearm from someone operating out of their house. If you do not wish to do business with someone giving firearms safety lessons or selling guns out of their house, you are free not to do that. And guess what: she didn’t have to go to someone’s house for the instruction.

I think the idea that the government is obliged to keep updated business records on who offers what services that you are seeking is silly. I’ve had several occasions to find an FAA medical examiner, and guess what: I’m sure the FAA made a responsible effort to keep its list of physicians up to date, but it still took me a few phone calls to make an appointment. Plus, if I called up the FAA and asked them how much the doctors would charge for a Class III medical evaluation, do you think the FAA would have told me? Ms. Miller complains that the MPD were not willing to tell her how much the firearms instructors will charge her. That’s another silly complaint of hers.

The fact that Emily Miller claims that it took her more than a week – and then ultimately signed up for a class with someone not even on that list and everything worked out fine – once again indicates she is probably not capable of intermediate-level life skills.

As I believe I mentioned above, she deliberately sought to avoid taking a class in someone’s basement: