Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2008, 11:09 pm -- Dave Kopel has penned another piece, this time looking at what the landmark Heller case (and expected opinion) means for New York City. Funny . . . I've been thinking that old "Mayor Mike" is nervously wondering the same thing right about now . . . .
First off, hats off to Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute for his clever headline linking beer brands to firearms case law. As a lover of language, this is a good one.
Okay, on to the story. Kopel has penned a piece talking about the lawyering that went on in the Heller case, real life in the District of Columbia, the opinion and how we got there, and the Colt .45 semi-auto handgun as a . . . machine gun?
No kidding. Mr. Kopel also goes on to say that the Court, rightfully, quoted court cases from the 1800s acknowledging a pre-existing 'natural right of self defence (sic).' Clearly, DC took away the ability for women (or men for that matter) to defend themselves when they instituted the handgun ban more than 30 years ago.
"The speculation about the post-Heller scope of permissible gun controls is interesting, and both sides of the debate will use the same words of the majority’s language to argue for or against bans on various classes of guns, such as small handguns, big .50 caliber rifles, and so on. Whatever the results of those arguments, it does seem clear at least one type of gun ban is going to have a very tough time passing judicial review.
"D.C. outlaws any self-loading rifle or handgun for which there exists a magazine holding more than 12 rounds. For example, the Colt .45 handgun has been, since its invention in 1911, one of the most common American handguns. The Colt .45 comes with a standard 7-round ammunition magazine. It’s possible, if you search long enough, to buy a 15 or 20 round magazine for the Colt. Except as a novelty, these magazines have no use on a Colt .45. They make the handgun much too large to carry, and they extend so far below the grip that they make the gun awkward to handle.
"In the District of Columbia (but nowhere else in the United States), the Colt .45 is banned. Not just banned if you have a 20 round magazine for the gun, but banned even if you only have the standard 7 round magazine. Preposterously, the D.C. ordinance classifies the 7-round Colt as a “machine gun,” and outlaws civilian possession of these so-called “machine guns.”
"Heller says that there may not be bans on guns “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” This surely encompasses the Colt .45, and the thousands of other models banned by D.C.’s overbroad “machine gun” law. The D.C. ordinance prohibts over half of the handguns made in the U.S. in a typical year, and a very large fraction of rifles, including low-powered .22 caliber rifles from venerable companies like Winchester.
"The D.C. City Council would do well to re-write its machine gun ban so that it applies only to real machine guns. If not, it will be close contest to see whether the ordinance is removed first by Congress or by the courts."
The antis are continuing the shrill cries about how this Supreme Court ignored precedent law to come to the Heller decision.
I would suggest, once again, that the folks who would deny someone their right to defend their very lives, read a history book or do some research. This court applied common sense precedent law in a manner to return to American citizens their basic human right of self defense.
Kopel further notes:
"The idea that self-defense is a natural right long predates the European discovery of the New World. Yet in some nations today, such at the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the principle that there is a right even of unarmed self-defense is in grave danger-at least among the judiciary and the rest of the governing elites."
Yep. But the U.S. Supreme Court saw through the smokescreen and emotional rhetoric. Facts matter. Truth matters. And an opinion came down that will make a positive difference for everyone's safety. Which is why pro self defense moms, grandmothers, sisters, wives, brothers, dads, uncles, boyfriends, husbands, etc. etc. need to help take advantage of -- exploit -- "The Big Mo." Heller helps Americans regain their right not to live in fear. And it will happen one city at a time.
If ever there was a time to say "do it for the children," and support lawsuits to overturn bans on the right to self defense, that time is now.