I’m sure regular readers are already aware, to at least some degree, of the Wrenn v. DC case, but let’s review, just for the sake of completeness. Legal Insurrection reports from July:
Attorney Alan Gura has scored another huge win for civil rights in today’s Wrenn v. DC decision out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal District of Columbia Circuit. [skip]
Wrenn v. DC, decided today, was a 2-1 decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The decision invalidates the District of Columbia’s prohibitionist ‘good reason’ constraint on the lawful carry of arms in public for purposes of self-defense.
This ‘good reason’ law requires that an applicant for a license to carry must show a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or pervious attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life. Two plaintiffs sought this preliminary injunction. Brian Wrenn and the Second Amendment Foundation, and Matthew Grace and the Pink Pistols, an organization that ‘champions the right of sexual minorities to carry guns for self-defense.
There can be no good faith in such a law. It’s nothing less than a concealed carry ban by another name. There can be no “special need” recognizable by DC authorities to carry a concealed weapon. To be sure, there are certain exceptions for politicians of the right party and level of power, and perhaps for celebrities and the very wealthy willing to make the right political donations. For Joe Average Citizen, particularly DC’s poor black citizens most at risk of their lives from criminals of the same race who do not obey concealed carry laws, or any laws, for that matter, there is nothing at all special about them. Fortunately two of the three judges on the panel understand the Second Amendment, and the realities of life:
[T]he fact that the need for self-defense is most pressing in the home doesn’t mean that self-defense at home is the only right at the Amendment’s core. After all, the Amendment’s ‘core lawful purpose’ is self-defense, and the need for that might arise beyond as well as within the home. Moreover, the Amendment’s text protects both the right to ‘bear’ as well as ‘keep’ arms.
As I’ve often written, of what good is a fundamental, unalienable right that applies only within the boundaries of one’s property or within the walls of their home? This is not a right at all, but a government regulated privilege. More rationality:
The court notes that the good-reason law naturally ‘isn’t a ‘total ban’ for the DC population as a whole’” but notes that this is not the correct question. The Second Amendment embodies not a group right, but an individual right. The correct question, then, is whether the good-reason law amounts to a ‘total ban’ for most DC resident’s individual ability to bear arms for self-defense.[skip]
‘[T]he good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on most DC residents’ right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs’ and that it does so ‘by design.’ Further, ‘[b]ans on the ability of most citizens to exercise an enumerated right would have to flunk any judicial test that was appropriately written and applied, so we strike down the District’s law here apart from any particular balancing test.
In effect, rather than merely issuing a temporary injunction against enforcement of the law, the court struck down the entire law. DC could not possibly allow that to stand. How could common citizens, the non-elite, possibly be allowed the benefits of the Second Amendment in, of all places, the nation’s capitol, which is supposedly dedicated to the Constitution and the rule of law? The NRA ILA reports:
In an unsurprising turn, officials in the District of Columbia have decided to continue to defend their near total ban on the right to bear arms. On Thursday, D.C. filed a petition for rehearing en banc with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the combined cases of Grace v. D.C. and Wrenn v. D.C. [skip]
The District’s 61 pages of arguments for why the right to bear arms shouldn’t apply in the nation’s capital can be summed up in a single reason: ‘we’re different.’ D.C.’s petition to the court begins by claiming that ‘[t]he District of Columbia is unique’ and ‘[u]nlike any city, it is filled with thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats, and it hosts hundreds of heavily attended events each year, including political marches and protests.
Well of course DC is unique. Our federal politicians routinely exempt themselves from the laws the rest of us must abide, and as with Obamacare, vote themselves special favors and subsidies not available to the common, non-different man. DC is a snakepit of corruption, stupidity and arrogance, so why would such a place allow the common man to preserve and protect his life or the lives of those they love? There’s nothing special about them.
Why would DC want an en banc hearing? Because a legacy of Harry Reid’s corrupt maneuvering was the packing of that particular court with progressives. The entire court is much more likely to overturn the panel’s ruling and give DC more breathing room in the hope President Trump might somehow be impeached or otherwise removed, and the Supreme Court might somehow be overtaken by progressives again. In the meantime, the residents of DC, and visitors to the nation’s capitol, would be allowed only the privileges granted them by their benevolent masters.
Here are some excerpts from DC’s petition for an en banc hearing:
Indeed, ‘[a]n impressive body of empirical evidence now shows that state laws making it easier to carry concealed weapons in public … have had the net effect of making those states more dangerous.
A lie and absolute nonsense.
And so, ‘[i]f the number of legal handguns on the streets increased significantly, [police] officers would have no choice but to take extra precautions before engaging citizens, effectively treating encounters … that now are routine, friendly, and trusting, as high-risk stops.
Another abject lie. All police officers know they must assume everyone they meet is armed. They know criminals do not obey the law, and the law-abiding are no threat to them. Concealed carry is the rule, not the exception, in most of America, and has been for decades. The panel’s decision in Wrenn has no bearing on this daily police reality.
And the overwhelming historical evidence demonstrates that public carrying has never been on equal legal footing with home possession.
Yet another lie. For decades, concealed carry has spread throughout America, and no state adopting it has ever considered abolishing it. Heller made clear the right to keep and bear arms has always applied to Americans. Indeed, it preceded the Second Amendment, which does not establish the right, but merely affirms it. The need for self-defense occurs where the individual is. It is not dependent upon the location of their dwelling.
The District of Columbia is unique. Unlike any state, it is entirely urban and densely populated. Unlike any city, it is filled with thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats, and it hosts hundreds of heavily attended events each year, including political marches and protests. The Supreme Court has recognized that the Second Amendment preserves, even if it limits, a local jurisdiction’s ability to craft firearm regulations to suit its local needs and values. The Council of the District of Columbia has done just that in a carefully considered public-carrying law that addresses the District’s particular public-safety challenges while preserving the ability of its most vulnerable citizens to publicly carry a handgun when there is a special self-defense need.
We expect lawyers to lie with a straight face, and that’s what they’re doing here. Their intention is anything but preserving the right to self-defense. Let’s return to the ILA:
Apparently, in the minds of D.C. officials, this ‘uniqueness’ should allow the District to infringe on the civil rights of its residents and visitors who wish to exercise their right to bear arms. It’s unclear if D.C. officials believe that this ability to trample on civil rights allows them to restrict any of our other constitutional rights or just those rights protected by the Second Amendment.
History tells us the first priority of all tyrants is to disarm the law-abiding. It’s a necessary first step to make possible the destruction of all other rights. The NRA is being polite. DC’s intentions are crystal clear, and they have nothing to do with upholding the Constitution or the rule of law.