By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold -
An Illinois resident that recently gunned down Congress members and staff practicing baseball – leaving Majority Whip Steve Scalise dangerously close to death and still hospitalized – points out the need for D.C.'s concealed carry restrictions to be lifted.
We're not insensitive to what that call for major reform means.
The massacre that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn on Dec. 14, 2012, when 20 first-graders and six teachers were murdered, will forever be etched in the hearts of many.
Predictably, President Obama and Democrats attempted to use this tragedy to initiate new restrictions on the Second Amendment, but these attempts were soundly rejected by Congress and most states.
According to a database compiled by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in the 12 months following the shooting almost every state enacted at least one new gun. In all about 1,500 state gun bills were introduced. 178 passed at least one chamber of a state legislature, with 109 becoming law. Of the 109 bills that passed, nearly two-thirds of them eased restrictions and expanded rights of gun owners. Not surprising is that they were enacted mostly in Republican controlled states. Meanwhile, laws increasing restrictions and restricting gun rights use and ownership were passed primarily in states with a Democrat controlled legislature and governorship.
Note here all the gun bills that passed at least one chamber of a state legislature.
It is worth noting that all states allow some form of concealed carry, compared to 39 at the time or Sandy Hook. It is also noteworthy that none of the restrictions proposed or passed would have had any effect on the incidents used in their justification.
Nine years ago, in 2008, SCOTUS, in the majority opinion of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for District of Columbia v Heller, determined that the right to keep and bear arms set forth in the Second Amendment was an individual right, not a collective right, thereby overruling the District's previous gun ban.
Nine years later, buying and selling handguns is legal in the District, except there are no gun stores in the District, and only one FFL, through which all transfers must be made, Purchasers are limited to one firearm per month, which must be duly registered.
Nicole Russell, a senior contributor to The Federalist in her article It's time To Allow Concealed-Carry Permits in Washington, D.C., published June 21, 2017, discussed the following concealed carry information pertaining to Washington, D.C.:
"Residents and non-residents can apply for a concealed-carry permit, but due to a stay issued by a federal appeals court last year, “D.C. Just Cause” is in effect. That means folks seeking a permit to lawfully carry must go through an arduous process that includes meeting multiple requirements, “including demonstrated to the Chief good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.
"Once the paperwork is filled out, granting permission is still at the discretion of local police. Should the police finally give permission for an individual who has demonstrated “need” to acquire his concealed-carry permit, there are still restrictions on top of that."
The need to prove imminent danger was overturned in Federal court on May 18, 2017, but a stay has been requested by the District. Similar orders have been challenged or ignored by the District in the past.
Scalise Shooting Calls for Concealed Carry
It is past time for the ineffective, unconstitutional law that bans adults from obtaining concealed-carry permits inside the District of Columbia to be revisited.
This has come to national attention following the shooting of Rep. Scalise (R-Georgia) in a Virginia ball park, when several members of Congress expressed the need for congressmen to be allowed to carry concealed weapons in Washington, DC. Members of Congress involved in that incident likewise expressed a need to be personally armed against the threats they face almost daily. While Capitol Police saved the day, it was a close call, reminding us of the catch phrase, “When you need help now, police can be there in minutes."
Washington DC is, in fact, since 2013 under order from the 6th Court of Appeals to issue permits to qualified persons. The Wrenn v Washington, D.C. decision rendered by Judge Scullin against D.C. on May 18, 2015, would have allowed permits to qualified persons, but it was later voided because Justice Roberts failed to affirm Scullin was the judge in charge. The case is still pending litigation before the 6th Circuit.
Stemming from the Heller decision in 2008, D.C. has played rope-a-dope with the court ever since. Only 39 permits out of 206 applications have been issue by D.C. since 2015. Apparently the cost and bureaucracy discourage applications. The plaintiff in Wrenn v DC tried for over a year without success before filing suit. However the argument is moot with regard to the ball park shooting, as Virginia recognizes concealed carry permits from most other states.
It is sensible to conclude that members of Congress do need special protection, but it is too expensive to provide the level of security afforded only to their leaders. However, Congress is not the only group under threat of violence in Washington DC (or elsewhere). On a per capita basis, Washington DC is more dangerous than Chicago. It’s just that Chicago has more people, hence greater opportunity for criminals.
Positive Gun News
There is now legislation in committee which would force states and DC to honor permits issued by other states.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on 2/27/2017 introduced his version of interstate carry legislation, S.446, titled the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” on 02/27/2017. Cornyn’s bill follows an earlier release in the House, H.R. 38, by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) on 1/03/2017 of the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.”
Both bills seek to address the problem of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders having to negotiate a confusing maze of laws, reciprocity agreements, and recognition statutes when they travel out of state. The bills would grant the same reciprocal rights to CCW holders as for drivers’ licenses and marriage certificates (q.v., 10th amendment).
Retired law officers already have that right under the LEOSA act. Even so, not all states honor that right, including New York and Washington D.C. That won’t change until there are serious penalties for any city or governmental body which ignores the law. On a state level, Florida imposes a $500 fine on individual city officials who pass local laws despite state preemption.
At present, all 50 states allow law-abiding citizens some form of concealed carry to carry weapons with the proper training and licensing. Some states, like California and New York, issue carry permits only to celebrities and politicians. A majority of states recognize permits issued to residents of other states. Several states, including Vermont and Wyoming allow “Constitutional Carry” without a permit for their citizens. They have a licensing system so that their citizens can carry in other states. Despite hysterics on the part of the opposition about “Wild West,” “OK Corral,” and “blood in the streets” scenarios, these have not materialized. In fact, concealed carriers commit serious crimes less often than sworn officers of the law, by a factor of 3.
Talking Gun Sense
Bloomberg and others in the opposition point to a 2003 study by Ashford, et.al., conclude that more guns cause more crimes, and that gun owning households are more likely to be victims of crime than others. This study is questionable, since it consisted of 600 households in a poor section of Cleveland, who had some member of their family involved in a gun crime. John Lott, an expert in this field, maintains that weapons are used thousands of times against criminals, but many go unreported. There are over 30,000 robberies and felony assaults each year in Chicago, but since 2013 only a handful of instances involving the defensive use of firearms have been reported.
According to the Illinois State Police, in an article dated July 21, 2016, more than 181,000 Illinoisans have a license to carry a concealed firearm. With a population of 12,838,000, that means 1.4% of Illinoisans have been approved for a concealed carry license.
Since about 1-1/2% of Illinois citizens are licensed to carry concealed weapons, one would expect, statistically, that about 500 such assaults were thwarted. Major violent crimes against individuals include rape, robber and assault, totaling 23,000 in the year 2015, but they remain under reported in Chicago because of data manipulation.
Those on the Left are always yakking about automatic and semi-automatic guns, but very few murders are committed with those weapons. Gun violence, by and large, is committed by handgun-wielding young black and Hispanic males who make their money dealing drugs.
If Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted to get the murder rate in Chicago down below that of Raqqa, he’d have the cops and the Illinois National Guard conduct a joint raid and arrest every gang member in the city. The reason he won’t do it is the same reason that the mayor of every other large city in America would refuse to do what needs to be done. That’s because the 5 o’clock news would show black teenagers being loaded into paddy wagons or hearses, the 6 o’clock news would be full of black ministers and tearful black mothers denouncing the mayor as a racist and the 11 o’clock news would carry the news of his resignation.
President Trump just dispatched 20 additional BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agents to assist in identifying and tracing ballistics and firearms used in crimes. The DOJ under Jeff Sessions has pledged to prosecute crimes under laws bearing the highest penalties, which include 5 years or more for unlawful possession of firearms, despite opposition in Illinois from some Illinois politicians. Hopefully help is on the way for Chicago, if Chicago-style politics doesn't interfere.
Was totally cheering this article until the National Guard paragraph. We need more concealed carry in the country and particularly in Illinois. I will be interested in what Scalise says when he comes back out into public. I am hopeful that he will champion greater gun rights.
But this whole “raid chicago” to round up the gangbangers is not particularly helpful. As someone who supports the Constitution, including both the 2nd and 4th amendments, the lack of due process in this proposal is sickening. Look, anyone who commits a crime associated with gangs definitely needs to be rounded up, but you don’t just preemptively do that to “suspected” gangbangers. And can you imagine the abuse in that which would become all too easy and tempting to those in power? — Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold, the City of Chicago has reason to believe that you’re both involved in gang activity; you are under arrest. Yes, Emanuel would resign, but not because of racism, but because of the gross violation of the laws of the land. And then every one of those people would be set free, and that would be terrible, because there’s no doubt that many of them would be criminals. Let’s do this the right way. The Right are supposed to be champions of Law.
Bill, you make a good argument for respecting the Constitution. The problem is not that the city doesn’t have the resources to round up gang members, rather that their activities are tolerated as long as “collateral damage” is kept to a minimum. Not much has changed since the 1920’s.
There is a new, deadly twist in the targeting of police themselves. In the 20’s and until quite recently a hit on a police officer would bring the wrath of God down on the gangsters, shutting down their “business as usual.”. More often than not, the shooter would turn up dead at the hands of his cohorts.
Now a reaction of that sort by the authorities would be seen as discriminatory or unconstitutional (the Constitution as interpreted by activist judges), regardless of warrants and due process. Liberal interpretation of the Constitution is often based on patterns rather than the law, and those patterns do not include offense rates, merely the end result.
If the use of National Guard for appropriate duty would free the civil authorities to serve and protect, that might be a good thing. Better, though, is a Department of Justice that serves to protect most of the people, not just some identity group.