With Washington DC’s long history of banning gun ownership or possession in the country’s capitol, what can we expect now that a federal court has overturned the DC gun ban? Once again, gun owners have been left wondering. Following the late July ruling, DC police were instructed to allow DC residents and legal permit holders from other jurisdictions to carry without harassment.
Though the DC Attorney General’s office initially stated they would seek a stay with regards to the ruling while appealing the decision and eventually won a 90 day reprieve while working out new laws, they have finally conceded that their ban on carrying guns in public is simply not fixable and must be replaced with a new law that allows at least some DC residents to carry.
The new law will be difficult to write, to say the least. Within DC proper, there are already a number of overlapping jurisdictions, differing carry types to be considered and the number of federal buildings and national landmarks with their own policies. The delicacy and care with which this law must be wrought has many residents and lawmakers scratching their heads in confusion.
Beyond simply dealing with the law within DC’s borders, there is also the question of how well it will play with others, in terms of CCW reciprocity with both neighboring and distant states. Foreign diplomats and their staff may fall under additional immunities that must be considered. And then there is the question of precedence.
Legal precedence is part of case law. It essentially creates law with every case that is decided. By losing Palmer v. District of Columbia, the district does have the option of pushing its agenda further, but at its own cost. Because Palmer v. DC creates a precedent that says gun bans are unconstitutional on a city level, similar action could create a further push that gun bans would be deemed unconstitutional on a state level, making it more difficult to pursue such action in the future.
The fight for gun rights in DC has won the day, but the battle is far from over. By continuing to fight illegal gun bans or highly restrictive laws, we continue to lay down the precedent of self-defense freedom for ourselves and our posterity, much as our forefathers envisioned.
Image courtesy of Adam Fagen.