Thursday, May 19, 2016

Court: 2nd Amendment is Not the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Constitution

Ninth Circuit Court rules that Second Amendment is “not a second class right”

The background is that Alameda County in California tried to outlaw retail gun sales by regulation; making so many different types of areas off limits to gun stores that there was nowhere in the County that guns could be sold.
Under the new rule, gun merchants would be forbidden from opening their doors within 500 feet of any residentially-zoned district (i.e. anyplace with a house or an apartment building), a school, pre-school, day care center or anyplace where alcohol was sold. That last one included not just bars, but any convenience store or other outlet where you could purchase a six-pack of beer.

How can we tell this was an intentional dodge around the law? Once a map of the country was parsed along those lines there wasn’t a single lot available which would have met the criteria. The ordinance would have effectively banned the opening of any gun shop anywhere in the county without coming out and explicitly saying so.
But, here come da Judge:
Writing for the majority, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said that the “right of law-abiding citizens to keep and to bear arms is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees…”

“If the right of the people to keep and bear arms is to have any force, the people must have a right to acquire the very firearms they are entitled to keep and to bear. Indeed, where a right depends on subsidiary activity, it would make little sense if the right did not extend, at least partly, to such activity as well….Alameda County has offered nothing to undermine our conclusion that the right to purchase and to sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and to bear arms,” O’Scannlain wrote.
And separate good news for the 2nd Amendment:  U.S. judge strikes down D.C. concealed-carry gun law as probably unconstitutional
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the District’s new gun law is probably unconstitutional, ordering D.C. police to stop requiring individuals to show “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm on the streets of the nation’s capital.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that the law violates the “core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment, setting aside arguments from District officials that the regulation is needed to prevent crime and protect the public.

“The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,” Leon wrote in a 46-page opinion, quoting a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2008 in another District case that established a constitutional right to keep firearms inside one’s home. Leon said the right applies both inside and outside the home.

“The District’s understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind,” he wrote.
"Good reason" has been Washington D.C.'s version of the Alameda's zoning dodge. For the D.C. politicos, there is no reason good enough to warrant a civilian owning a gun.

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