A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Saturday overturned the city’s total ban on residents being allowed to carry firearms outside their home in a landmark decision for gun-rights activists.
Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, therefore gun-control laws in the nation’s capital are “unconstitutional.”
“We won,” Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News in a phone interview. “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.”
Gura said he expects the District to appeal this decision but added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going.”
The decision leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.
Judge Scullin extensively referenced the Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) to concluding “there is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.”
The court ordered the city to now allow residents from the District and other states to carry weapon within its boundaries.
Judge Scullin wrote that the court “enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of [D.C. firearms laws] unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
The defendants are the city government and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.
This case has dragged in the courts for five years. Gura has twice asked the federal appeals court to force Judge Scullin to issue a decision. The five plaintiffs filed in 2009, and the case was argued twice, most recently in Oct. 2012.
George Lyon, a D.C. resident and registered gun owner is one of the plaintiffs in Palmer.
“I am gratified that after a long wait our right to protect ourselves and our families has been vindicated,” Lyon, a lawyer, said Saturday.
He urged Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, and the Democrat-controlled City Council to “swiftly enact a concealed carry law that protects the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves.”
Gray did not respond to request for comment.
City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Sunday that he just learned of the ruling and had yet to read the opinion.
However, he said because of the District’s unique national security concerns, the right to carry a firearm in public “must be more heavily restricted than any place else in the nation.”
“Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated by gunfire, and at least five others have been shot at, including Ronald Regan who was seriously wounded in 1981,” he said. “Neither the Secret Service nor the Capitol Police will disclose all incidents where they have recovered firearms, but we do know that just two years ago someone hit the White House with gunfire, and there are frequent threats on the foreign diplomatic corps.”
William Jacobson, who is feeling under the weather, celebrates
Well, well, well–I guess the big guy upstairs knew I could do with a pick-me-up while I struggle through this respiratory infection. And boy, did he deliver big (with a h/t to Ace of Spades HQ).
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.
Palmer v. District of Columbia (1:09-CV-1482 , filed July 26, 2014; full decision at the end of this post).
This should, of course, be the common fate of virtually every gun law currently on the books, particularly when (as is the only proper legal course) strict scrutiny is applied to the thousands of state and Federal laws that continue to irrationally infringe our rights to keep and bear arms.
Kudos to Attorney Alan Gura, for his continuing masterful efforts in defense and promotion of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. As Alan noted in his own blog, Reality-Based Litigation:
In 2012, I won Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012), which struck down Illinois total ban on the carrying of defensive handguns outside the home. With this decision in Palmer, the nation’s last explicit ban of the right to bear arms has bitten the dust. Obviously, the carrying of handguns for self-defense can be regulated. Exactly how is a topic of severe and serious debate, and courts should enforce constitutional limitations on such regulation should the government opt to regulate. But totally banning a right literally spelled out in the Bill of Rights isn’t going to fly. My deepest thanks to the Second Amendment Foundation for making this victory possible and to my clients for hanging in there. Congratulations Americans, your capital is not a constitution-free zone.
Good Freaking Grief. Why is it such stupid people gravitate towards politics?
The Burlington, Iowa city council wants to ban open carry of toy guns.
The ordinance will make it illegal to openly carry a toy gun or conceal one with clothes.
Via Iowa Gun Owners Facebook page:
The Burlington Iowa City Council is moving to pass an ordinance that would require you to get their WRITTEN permission before your kids can play with toy guns, replica guns, BB guns, etc!
If your kids play with these toys in most outdoor situations, or if they play with toy guns in the car while you drive them around, you are looking at a fine in excess of $500 and up to a month in jail!
We spoke to the Mayor, who unapologetically defended the proposal as “forward thinking”…
They are meeting tonight. They need to hear from Iowans immediately about this stupidity. Tell them how you feel about needing a ‘hall pass’ for your children to play Cowboys and Indians in your backyard.
If they pass it in this town, they can try it in your town next. So please, immediately contact:
• Mayor McCampbell at (319)457-2652 or by emailing email@example.com.
• Council Member Becky Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Council Member Robert Fleming can be reached at email@example.com.
• Council Member Tim Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Council Member Becky Shockley can be reached at email@example.com.
Forward thinking? No, this is Totalitarian thinking
But, of course, we must remember the “common good”
Ohio University (OU) is considering mandatory “re-education” classes for students who disregard its smoking ban.
The public university plans to ban cigarettes — including electronic cigarettes — anywhere on its 1,850-acre campus beginning next academic year.
Those who repeatedly violate the ban will be sent to the university’s Office of Community Stands to “talk to somebody,” Ryan Lombardi, OU vice president for student affairs, said in an interviewwith The Athens News.
Lombardi added that the university is working on developing smoking cessation programs and classes, and that attendance in those classes may be mandatory for repeat offenders.
But Lombardi assured the News that he does not want the school to “become a police state.”
“I really don’t see this as situation where students have to be separated from the university, or an employee has to be terminated,” he said. “That is not a desired outcome on anybody’s part.”
I think the fact that the Left is now trying to ban E-Cigs is telling. This is not about health at all. This is about control, of you, and me, and everyone. that is the nature of Leftists, to control our behavior to suit the Left. Of course they do not want a police state. But, if we do not behave as they see fit, well…….
A Justice Department fraud prevention program came under fire Thursday for allegedly morphing into actively pressuring banks to deny financial services to businesses for political reasons.
Operation Choke Point functions as a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and various other federal agencies which deal with bank regulations, specifically the Treasury and the SEC. The objective of the project is to choke-off fraudulent businesses from accessing financial services, in an effort to protect consumers.
The controversy, however, is over allegations that the DOJ is pressuring financial institutions to decline doing business with so-called “high risk” industries which line up squarely against the political leanings of the current administration. These businesses include ammunition sales, payday loans, pornography, fireworks companies, and others – 24 industries in total, as listed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
“Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member. Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services…to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them,” said William M. Isaac, former chairman of the FDIC.
Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the legality of DOJ overreach. Letters have poured in from company owners in support of these suspicions, noting startling cases where the DOJ reportedly has directly strong-armed banks into dropping clients not engaging in fraud.
Virginia Republican Rep. Robert Goodlatte revealed that one of the more egregious examples sent in to the committee was a meeting between the DOJ and a bank regarding the continued provision of financial services to a payday loan company.
The DOJ official reportedly told the banker, “I don’t like this product, and I don’t believe it should have a place in our financial system. And if you don’t agree, there will be an immediate, unplanned audit of your entire bank.”
The Justice Department has now served over 50 subpoenas on banks, and Alabama Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus expressed considerable concern that dragging banks into a long and expensive process is just an underhanded way of encouraging banks to drop clients as an easy-out.
“Subpoenas are expensive to comply with and can bring unwanted scrutiny. The natural reaction from a financial institution might be to sever relations with the merchant and be done with it,” Bachus said Thursday in a hearing at the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.
Missouri Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer brought forward the End Operation Choke Point Act Tuesday to curb the DOJ’s activities in this area. The act would provide financial institutions with safe harbor to serve customers engaged in legal activities, so as to cut out politically motivated attacks on businesses deemed undesirable by the Justice Department.
The House voted to block performance bonuses for senior Internal Revenue Service executives Wednesday, The Hill reported.
“Giving out bonuses is ludicrous and amounts to a slap in the face to the American public,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, who introduced the amendment. “They should not be given performance awards in the wake of one of the largest scandals in recent history.”
The amendment passed by a vote of 282-138-1, with only Democrats voting against it.
“To suggest and paint with a broad brush the whole IRS and say that everyone there at the senior level is not worthy of a bonus or not worthy of our respect is really to do a disservice to public service employees,” said ranking member Democrat Rep. José Serrano.
The House also passed an amendment prohibiting the IRS from spending money on conferences, with Rep. Ron DeSantis noting that one recent conference alone cost more than $4 million.
These are just the latest move in the House’s war on the IRS. Earlier this week it voted to slash the IRS’s budget by $1.14 billion, motivated by anger over the Lois Lerner targeting scandal.
“The IRS is guilty of targeting innocent Americans, now… I am targeting them,” said Rep. Gosar, who also sponsored of one of the amendments that dramatically cut funding.
“We need to keep in mind that the IRS is one of the most feared agencies within the federal government,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga, who introduced a separate budget-cutting amendment, which also passed. “It is up to Congress to prevent the IRS from ever slipping back into its targeting practices. The best way to do that is to force the IRS to consolidate its resources and prioritize. Congress itself has been forced to do this. Our own offices have been forced to do this and there is no reason the IRS cannot follow suit. We cannot allow the IRS to be used as a political weapon.”
Gosar’s amendment cut the IRS’s budget by $353 million, while Huizenga’s chopped off another $788 million. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this leaves the IRS with $9.8 billion for the fiscal year beginning on October 1.
Both amendments passed by a voice vote, meaning there is no record of who did and did not support the amendments.
Both the budget-cutting and bonus-blocking amendments were made to House Resolution 5016, the fiscal year 2015 financial services appropriations bill, which “provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies.”
These amendments have the White House rattled, with its budget office saying Monday that, “If the President were presented with H.R. 5016, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
“Reverting the agency’s funding level to FY 2008 levels would hinder IRS efforts to provide robust service to taxpayers, improve enforcement operations, and implement new statutory responsibilities,” the statement read. “The Administration also objects to provisions that unnecessarily encumber IRS operations with reporting requirements and unduly restrict the IRS’s ability to finalize regulations.”
H.R. 5016 passed Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 228-195.
“The bill totals $21.3 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $566 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the President’s request for these programs,” said an Appropriations Committee press release. “The legislation prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system, and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.”
A man suspected of being drunk posed as a security screener at San Francisco International Airport long enough to direct a couple of women into a private booth for pat downs before real security staffers caught on to him, authorities said Wednesday.
The 53-year-old San Francisco man was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness after creating a stir at the A-side security checkpoint of the International Terminal about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. Wesley Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities are investigating whether the man should be booked on other counts, such as false imprisonment.
Matsuura would not give the man’s name, saying the case has gone hush-hush since the federal Transportation Security Administration, which oversees airport security, took over the investigation into how the breach happened.
Two other airport law enforcement sources tell us the incident started when the man entered the security area wearing khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and blue rubber gloves – an outfit that might have been mistaken for those worn by screeners with the private Covenant security firm.
The man, apparently without saying much, steered a woman into one of the private screening booths used to pat down selected passengers, our sources say. What happened inside isn’t known, because the woman soon disappeared to catch a flight.
A few minutes later, the man directed a second woman toward the booth, our sources say. This time, however, he caught the attention of real screeners, who figured something was wrong because male screeners are prohibited from taking women into the booth for a pat-down without a female screener also being present.
Covenant screeners detained the alleged fake until San Francisco police officers arrived. Because officers couldn’t find any women who had actually entered the booth with the man, they booked him only for alleged public drunkenness.
If investigators can track down the alleged victims, however, he could face more serious charges.
The incident raises disturbing questions about who’s screening the screeners at SFO.
“They will be (investigating) this for a week,’’ said one law enforcement source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case. “Someone has to pay for this.’’
TSA and Covenant reps could not be reached for comment.
Nobody does it better…
Megyn Kelly absolutely destroyed Jon Stewart and the liberal cranks who are misleading the American public on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.
Via The Kelly File:
The Blaze wrote about the left’s many lies on the Hobby Lobby decision.
The Washington Post faulted several Democratic lawmakers for less-than-truthful assertions about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, most of which implied that employers could prevent employees from buying contraception.
The 5-4 court majority actually ruled that closely held companies cannot be forced to pay for select types of contraceptives for employees.
Since some Democrats – including party leaders Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California – confessed to misspeaking, and others stated they were expressing an opinion, the Post’s Fact Checker said it would not count the comments as outright lies.
“But this collection of rhetoric suggests that Democrats need to be more careful in their language about the ruling,” the Post noted. “All too often, lawmakers leap to conclusions that are not warranted by the facts at hand. Simply put, the court ruling does not outlaw contraceptives, does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control and does not take away a person’s religious freedom.”
While it is certainly good to see ordinary Americans doing what they can to help solve problems and issues that are troubling our country, it is also sad to see the failure of government to act on legitimate concerns. After all, we can certainly agree that one of the most essential concerns and duties of a government is to protect, control, and defend our borders.
Sadly, ever since Obama has taken power, we have seen a continued and concerted effort to weaken our borders. To anyone who has been following recent events, it is clear that Obama is, at best, playing politics with our immigration laws and his policies. At worst, he is looking to weaken our country internally to the point where we become vulnerable to an outside attack or invasion.
Perhaps you have heard of the Minuteman project? I hadn’t until quite recently. This is an organization made up of patriotic Americans who are now looking to put an end to this influx of illegal immigrants. They are converging on the border in an effort to assist security efforts.
This is a response to how Obama has disarmed many of those Border Patrol officers and also simply refused to enforce many of our immigration laws. He has also removed and dwindled resources to the point of near non-existence. Obviously, this allowance of countless illegals into our country is both blatant and intentional. We have seen the photos of how drug smugglers are coming into this country laden with 50+ pound bags of drugs almost at will since Border Patrol officers have been recalled in an effort to man the detention facilities.
Led by Jim Gilchrist, this Minuteman Project is trying to take up the slack presented by the Obama Regime. They have issued a call for volunteers to head to the border and secure it since our lovely community organizer in chief refuses to do so. According to a report from WND:
“What Gilchrist describes as an ‘invasion’ is the flood of illegal aliens, including many children, coming into the United States from Mexico. Many of the illegal aliens are from Central America, where the word is that those who reach the United States gain access to food, housing, health care, and education. Part of the impetus has been identified by Barack Obama critics as the president’s policy of deferring deportation action against young illegal aliens.
Now Gilchrist, in a move that reflects increasing tension over the flood of illegals, some of whom are carrying tuberculosis, polio and other threats to society, has issued a new call for citizen volunteers to join him at the US border with Mexico.”
Interesting events. 3500 true American patriots have already responded to the call. It should be very instructive to see what response is forthcoming from the authorities. It should also be interesting to see what kind of effect they have on the number of illegals crossing into our country.
What do YOU think? Is this a legitimate response to a government that is increasingly out of control and shirking its responsibilities? Should we begin taking the security of our borders and our country more seriously and into our own hands? Might you ever consider joining forces with these 3500 courageous Minutemen?
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a float that appeared at the annual Fourth of July parade in the small town of Norfolk, Neb. because the float featured a blue flatbed truck carrying a zombie-looking mannequin in overalls on the door of an outhouse labeled “OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY.”
The Justice Department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to Norfolk (pronounced “Norfork” by many locals), reports the Omaha World-Herald.
The Community Relations Service team investigates disputes concerning discrimination.
The Justice Department bureaucrat attended a meeting on Thursday about the float fracas. Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives of the NAACP, the town mayor and members of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the group that organizes the yearly parade.
Oh, but of course the bottom feeding race pimps at the NAACP had to be there. I wish the city leaders would have told them all to get stuffed. What exactly are these folks investigating? Maybe disagreeing with the President is forbidden now? What is next? Or maybe we ought to wonder who will get a visit from the Justice Department next? This has no place in America. If it is up to Obamabots like the buffoon that started this waste of government resources however, we better all get used to it
The kerfuffle began after parade attendee Glory Kathurima, a native of Kenya, became deeply unhappy about the float.
“I’m angry and I’m scared,” she told a reporter from the Lincoln Journal Star. “This float was not just political; this was absolutely a racial statement.”
I would be curious to know how she knew it was a racial statement. And what the Hell is she scared of? A float?Perhaps her obvious Racial Obsession Syndrome caused her hyper sensitivity? But, even if this was a “racial” statement, so what? Are we not free to speak our minds? Are we so sensitive now that we have ceded our freedom of speech to the Left? Good grief, take a peek at what the future holds if we do not stop the Thought Police soon. A day is coming when any criticism of any Democrat will be “investigated” by our government. Maybe the Justice Department will form a new task force to deal with those who dare speak ill of their government. They can call it the Coalition for the Common Good and they can not only reeducate those that think incorrect thoughts, but maybe have the power to seize their guns too. As I said, the shadow we see looming is that of Totalitarianism. Stand up and say Hell no now.
Could Georgia’s 10th Congressional District runoff take a page from the Mississippi U.S. Senate race?
Tim Bryant spoke on the radio the other day about a mailer he received urging Democrats to vote for trucking executive Mike Collins in the Republican runoff in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Paul Broun. Collins is running against minister Jody Hice, whose comments about Islam, women and gays have caused a stir.
A reader sent us the mailer itself, which we present above. It was attached to an absentee ballot application. The argument:
“Due to the gerrymandering of our Congressional district, it is nearly impossible for a Democrat to get elected… We, as citizens of the 10th Congressional District, cannot afford a Congressman like Jody Hice. Why you ask? Here are just a few reasons why Hice is too radical to represent us in Washington.”
The mailer does not say who paid for it – and the only reported outside spending on mailers in the race has been by a gun rights group for Hice – so we can’t say for sure it is the Democrats. Hice was willing to assume in a fundraising appeal:
“Democrats are trying to do in Georgia what they did in Mississippi. We must not allow liberals to decide another Republican election.”
He’s referring to the Thad Cochran-Chris McDaniel GOP runoff last month, in which crossover votes from black Democrats appeared to provide the incumbent senator’s slim margin of victory.
Black college students will pay a price because the country’s largest government employee union doesn’t like the conservative philanthropist Koch brothers.
BuzzFeed reports that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees didn’t like that the United Negro College Fund accepted $25 million from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation, and that the fund’s president spoke at a Koch-funded summit.
Naturally, the appropriate target is black college students.
AFSCME’s relationship with the UNCF revolved around their Union Scholars Program, in which sophomore- and junior-year college students could work with AFSCME during the summer and receive scholarship support aftwerward [sic].
That program will cease on Sept. 1.
“We must hold ourselves to the same standards that we promote through the Union Scholars Program,” [union president Lee] Saunders wrote. “To practice what we preach, to fight for social justice, and to stand up for what we beleive [sic]. I cannot in good conscience face these students or AFSCME’s members if I looked the other way and ignored your actions.”
The Wire says that’s no chump change for students:
For over a decade sophomores and juniors have been able to intern with the union, and received a $4,000 stipend plus a $5,000 scholarship. A union spokesman told The Huffington Post that AFSCME donates $50,000 to $60,000 a year for the scholarship program and “hundreds of thousands” of dollars annually.
The college fund gave a pleasant middle finger to the union, telling BuzzFeed:
“UNCF has over 100,000 donors with a wide range of views, but they all have one thing in common: they believe in helping young students of color realize their dreams of a college education. For over 70 years we have never had a litmus test and we have asked all Americans to support our cause.”