Wednesday, August 20, 2014

D.C. Still Hoping to Limit Lawful Carry

From Peter Hermann at The Washington Post (via Bitter):
The Second Amendment does not include an “unalloyed right” to carry guns in public, District officials argued in a court pleading filed Monday that seeks more time before a judge’s ruling takes effect and overturns the city’s ban on carrying handguns in public.
Putting aside how ridiculous the brief sounds by using the word "unalloyed" to describe a right the Constitution guarantees shall not be infringed when discussing doing just that ("alloying" the right?*), why would they need more time?

I mean, the stay expires October 22, so we're now ... what ... 27 days into the 90 days already granted.  Nearly 1/3 of their time is gone.  What have they been doing?
The purpose of Monday’s pleading was to ask for an extension of that stay for two possible scenarios. In the event the District decides to appeal instead of enact a new law, officials want a new stay to extend until the appeal process is exhausted. In the event they seek a legislative remedy, they are asking for the current stay to extend an additional 90 days.

Oh, I think I see now.  They've lost, they've spent nearly four weeks trying to decide whether they want to take it or risk losing a second time, and still haven't figured that out.

However, exhausting the appeals process - even if they ultimately lose - is certain to last longer than 90 days, so maybe they can call that a "win"?

Here's my opinion (worth every penny you're paying for it!): D.C. officials are hoping to stall as long as they can before trying to do anything, a la the Illinois legislature after Moore v. Madigan overturned their ban on carry.  IL waited until the very last minute, passing their carry law (IIRC) on day 179 of their 180 day stay - with barely hours to go until unregulated, "Vermont-style carry" would be the law.  I can see something similar happening in D.C.

Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr.
(image source)
I did find this bit especially interesting:
The filing also counters U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr.’s ruling by arguing that the “core” of the Second Amendment is “the right of law abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home . . . not the right to carry handguns in public.”
This motion from D.C. is going to the same judge, right?  If this is accurate, they're asking for an extension on account that the judge ruled incorrectly, and they're making this argument to his face!  The judge says the ban on carry outside the home is unconstitutional, and D.C. says, "You're wrong, banning carry IS Constitutional, and oh-by-the-way can we please have more time to decide whether to comply with your ruling?  Pretty please?"**

If I were Judge Scullin, I'd be sorely tempted to read this and say, "No stay for appeal, no extension.  People are being denied their rights as we speak, and the clock is ticking.  You have until October 22, which should be more than enough time.  And for the love of Pete, if you're going to make a law, make something good and fair; I don't want to have to see you again on October 23rd."

But that's just me.
* - Personally, I think "alloying" the Second Amendment with the First Amendment is not that bad an idea.  "Congress shall make no law ... limiting the right of the people to keep and bear arms" has a nice ring to it, and the general recognition of free speech wherever you have the right to be is a definite plus.
** - Yes, I understand this is basically how the appeals process works; you try until you (hopefully) get the answer you want.  Still, asking this of the very same court who not only ruled against you, but also gave you time to comply, is pretty brazen.

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