A Civil Rights Victory in the District

A federal court in the District of Columbia has held that the District’s ban on carrying weapons, either openly or concealed, violates the Second Amendment. The case is Palmer v. District of Columbia. While the holding is by no means unexpected–I believe the District was the last place whose ban on carrying weapons outside the home had not yet been held unconstitutional–it is good to see freedom spreading into the belly of the beast.

This is key language from the opinion:

Finally, as the Peruta court pointed out, “[u]nderstanding the scope of the right is not just necessary, it is key to [the court’s] analysis [because,] if self-defense outside the home is part of the core right to ‘bear arms’ and the [District of Columbia’s] regulatory scheme prohibits the exercise of that right, no amount of interest-balancing under a heightened form of means-end scrutiny can justify [the District of Columbia’s] policy.” Id. at 1167 (citing Heller, 554 U.S. at 634, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (“The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government–even the Third Branch of Government–the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon.”)). Thus, having concluded that carrying a handgun outside the home for self-defense comes within the meaning of “bear[ing] Arms” under the Second Amendment, the Court must now ask whether the District of Columbia’s total ban on the carrying of handguns within the District “infringes” that right.

This question is not difficult to answer.

Here is the opinion in its entirety. I encourage you to read it. Contrary to popular belief, court opinions are not comprehensible only to lawyers. For the most part, any intelligent reader can understand them, particularly once he gets the hang of the format and some of the conventions of a judicial opinion. The Constitution is way too important to be left to lawyers and judges, so I think widespread reading of court decisions is a good thing.

Dct Opinion

Liberals have not yet accepted the Second Amendment. For the most part, they still cherish a desire to get rid of all or substantially all firearms in non-government hands. Now, more than ever, it is clear how high those stakes are.


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