A different gun control story made news this week. Before anyone heard of a bump stock or even an assault weapon, one of the biggest fronts in the war over the right to keep and bear arms centered on “shall-issue” legislation.
Permission to carry a firearm (usually concealed) is generally treated by states in one of three ways. Shall-issue is one of those ways, and it means that any person presenting valid qualifications with no prohibitions will be granted the permission slip to carry. Some states have what is often called constitutional carry, which means that no special permission is needed and anyone not banned from doing so, need only wear the firearm.
The third category is anathema to liberty and gives near supreme powers over the gun rights of the citizenry to (usually) unelected state or county employees. In may-issue jurisdictions, these functionaries who are, often enough, hostile to citizens’ desire to protect themselves with the practical handgun, may issue a permit or not. Excluding powerful political figures, celebrities, and personal relations, however – they will all be certainly approved. That changed in 1987. Outraged that the rich and famous as well as the politically connected had no problem protecting their families while they had to make due with poor policing – Floridians put a stop to may issue rules in their state, and the “shall issue” revolution began.
When future NRA President Marion Hammer was advancing the cause in Florida in the 1980’s, the vast majority of states were may-issue states. She and other state-level activists started a nationwide wave that washed over may-issue America turning it into shall-issue America. Now, most states by far are shall-issue or require no special permission to carry.
Holdouts and Heller’s Legacy
In 2008, the Supreme Court released its decision in D.C. vs. Heller case. In a big win for a plain language reading of the founding documents, the narrow majority held that the Second Amendment conveyed an individual right to bear arms. The lead attorney in the case, Alan Gura, then proceeded to press claims in multiple jurisdictions. He sought both to have Heller’s mandate enforced, and expand the rights recognized by the Court in Heller.
As the Washington Post reported:
“[N]ew litigation, led by Heller‘s victorious attorney Alan Gura, engages the right to carry outside the home. In 2014, the D.C. law making it impossible to obtain a permit to carry outside the home is held unconstitutional.”
As a result:
“Rather than appealing the decision, D.C. adopts a very narrow licensing law: Carry permits for outside the home will be issued only if there is a “good reason,” defined to mean that the applicant has a “special need.” After much procedural delay, the issue is finally decided on the merits on July 25, 2017. The district courts … split on whether the D.C. “special need” ordinance was constitutional. The Court of Appeals rules that the ordinances violates the Second Amendment.”
Heretofore the District government in the persons of the Mayors, Police Chiefs, Council Members, and Attorneys General, all seemed on board with a crusade to keep their constituents disarmed, no matter the cost. Those of us who were paying attention to the case thought for sure that D.C. would appeal any outcome not in their favor up to and including the Supreme Court.
D.C. Relents, Allows Residents Their Civil Rights
We learn from the Washington Post that after the District lost its request for the entire Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case (en banc review), officials agreed to give in, and stop spending taxpayer money to keep those same taxpayers from enjoying the right to practical self-defense. A right those very same officials surely enjoy, either by bearing arms themselves, or having a taxpayer-funded security detail to ensure their physical safety.
“Announcing his decision, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said he continued to believe the city’s law was sensible and constitutional. But he said an unfavorable ruling on the law from the Supreme Court would put similar concealed-carry restrictions across the country in jeopardy.
“We must reckon with the fact that an adverse decision by the Supreme Court could have wide-ranging negative effects not just on District residents, but on the country as a whole,” Racine said in a statement.”
Whoopsie. They gave up simply because they are national political players, and they were afraid the case would set a precedent – the wrong precedent in their mind, that people have the right to protect themselves while outside their residences. Well, I say one down and just a few more to go – where to next? Mr. Gura? Mr. Gura? Paging Mr. Gura…