In all the hub-bub of today’s Heller decision we forget the other ordinary people who put the DC gun control laws into the crosshairs of the Supreme Court.
One story to help us remember:
Gun Ownership a Capital Idea
by Deneen Borelli
For years, Shelly Parker faced intimidation and harassment from the drug dealers and gang-bangers who roamed her neighborhood. Already frustrated because the police never did enough to make her feel truly safe, she was further dismayed by the fact that she could not own a gun to protect herself.
Parker is a resident of Washington, D.C., where gun ownership has been a crime.
Unwilling to just give up, Parker’s tenacity resulted in action that may mean Washingtonians can exercise their constitutional right to own a gun for the first time in over 30 years.
In 2003, Parker and five other D.C. residents filed suit for the right to defend themselves by having serviceable guns in their homes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in their favor in March, saying that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.” Unsuprisingly, the city’s attorneys are appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a final ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia could have profound national implications on statist government regulations that degrade citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Since 1976, the ownership of almost all firearms has been illegal in America’s capital city. The first offense for handgun possession is a misdemeanor charge carrying a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year and a $1,000 fine. A second offense is a felony that could lead to up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Trapped between the street thugs and a government opposed to individual rights, Parker was essentially in a no-win situation: illegally own a gun and face possible prosecution or risk being a victim.
Even before they were completely banned, the District of Columbia’s open hostility toward the Second Amendment was evident. For example, registered handguns prior to 1976 were not allowed to be carried from one room to another within the same home unless the gun owner had a license for each room. Shotguns or rifles had to be unloaded and either unassembled or trigger-locked.