Second Amendment Foundation challenges interstate handgun sales ban

If you weren’t already aware, even after Heller struck down the handgun ban and onerous firearm ownership restrictions in the District of Columbia, DC residents have still had an unconstitutionally difficult time obtaining firearms. There are no gun stores in DC. Not a single one. In addition, federal law prohibits the direct sale of firearms to people who are not residents of the state in which the sale takes place. Instead, the sale must be handled through an FFL in the buyer’s state of residence – this requires an additional fee to an FFL willing to conduct the transfer. Until recently, there has been only one FFL in DC willing to do so.

Now there are none.

Since the lifting of the handgun ban in June 2008, Charles Sykes has processed more than 1,000 handguns for District residents. Sykes tells WTOP he’s stopped taking orders for now.”I’ve lost my lease,” Sykes said in a phone interview. “I’ll take care of the customers who already placed orders, but I don’t want to take any more until I know where I will reopen.”

Sykes is the sole proprietor of C S Exchange, the only licensed firearm dealer in the city that will transfer guns for individuals. Sykes doesn’t sell the guns — there are no gun stores in D.C. His company facilitates the transfer of guns from out of state stores into the District for a fee of $125 per gun.

DC’s zoning regulations, and specifically the restrictions on where a business dealing in firearms can be located (the linked story has a map), are making it extraordinarily difficult for him to find a new location.

Zoning regulations require gun dealers to locate in either a commercial zone or industrial zone. Most of the District is either zoned for residential use or is federal land. There is also the added restriction of dealers not being able to open a shop within 300 feet of any home, church, school, library or playground.

And once he finds an available lease, he still has to have the location approved by three separate government agencies: the ATF, the the Metropolitan Police Department, and the District’s Office of Zoning. There’s no guarantee that any new location will be approved by all three.

In fact, there is another FFL in DC who is willing to do transfers – but he’s been trying without success since 2008 to find a location.

Kevin Shepard owns Second Amendment Safety and Security, and has had a Federal Firearms License since 2008, but has not been able to find a location to open his business. He says the zoning requirements are too restrictive.

With the closing of C S Exchange, this now amounts to a de facto ban on firearms purchases by DC residents. So the SAF has stepped in.

The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in U.S. District Court in Virginia challenging the constitutionality of federal and Virginia provisions barring handgun sales to non-residents.SAF is joined in the lawsuit by Michelle Lane, a District of Columbia resident who cannot legally purchase handguns because there are no retail firearms dealers inside the District.

[...]

“This is an important issue in the era of the national instant background check,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The NICS check should allow law-abiding citizens like Miss Lane to exercise their Second Amendment rights regardless their place of residence.”

“Americans don’t check their constitutional rights at the state line,” said Gura. “And since Michelle Lane is legally entitled to possess firearms, forcing her to seek a non-existing D.C. dealer to buy a handgun is pointless when perfectly legitimate options exist minutes across the Potomac River.”

“The Supreme Court has ruled that District residents have an individual right, protected by the Constitution, to have a handgun in their home,” Gottlieb noted. “The high court has also ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states. Existing state and federal statutes violate both the spirit and letter of recent court rulings and the Constitution, and our lawsuit seeks to remedy that situation.”

This is an important point: The NICS is a national background check, the availability and results of which do not rely on one’s state of residence. Why should people be forced to have it done by an FFL in their home state, when the results would be exactly the same if it was done by any FFL in any other state?

But more important is the fact that this restriction means that DC residents who do not already own a firearm are banned from exercising a Constitutional Right based simply on the uncontrollable occurrence of one business losing it’s lease – something the city cannot guarantee will not happen again even if he finds a new, approved location tomorrow.

Alan Gura should be awarded the both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for his actions in restoring the true meaning and supremacy of the Second Amendment (not that it will happen with the current administration). But even with everything he’s done, there’s still a long way to go. Support the SAF.

END OF LINE

(h/t SayUncle)

How many degrees of separation?

AKA, Chicago Politics.

By now, everybody knows that Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, resigned so that he could run for mayor of Chicago – in fact, he did so practically the same day that the current mayor, Richard Daley, announced that he would not be running for re-election. Rahm had made no secret of the fact that becoming mayor of Chicago was a longtime dream of his, so – unlike Richard Daley’s decision to not run –  it wasn’t really a surprise when his resignation was announced.

Interestingly, today the administration has announced Obama’s pick for his new chief of staff: William Daley, a former Commerce Secretary and Richard Daley’s brother.

His brother, Richard Daley, is the mayor of Chicago, the post that Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, left his job in October to seek. The Daley brothers are sons of Richard J. Daley, who was Chicago’s mayor from 1955 to his death in 1976.

I know what I think, but I’ll leave it to you, my dear readers, to decide for yourselves how much horse-trading might have been involved in this rather coincidental appointment.

END OF LINE

[Source: AP Article on Yahoo! News, retrieved 1/6/11]

Why we cannot allow the licensing of a Constitutional Right

In Chicago, reports are that it’s costing about $250 and multiple trips to the police department to get a license for a handgun – more if you have multiple guns to register. It looks like a $215 minimum: $100 for the class, $100 fee to the city for the license, and $15 per gun to be registered. None of that, of course, includes the cost of the actual gun, or the cost of ammunition or range fees for the required live fire session. It doesn’t include the personal time spent jumping through the city’s hoops that could have been spent on other things.

It looks like at least one of the posters at that forum has actually gotten his permit, so they don’t seem to be playing that game like I thought they would.

They do seem to be doing what they can to discourage people by making it difficult and time consuming, though. One poster spent 10 hours between the class and traveling to and from the range, and 3 hours just filling out forms (639 individual information fields) to register 9 guns (plus $135 to register them all).

And all this is just so you can have it in your home, and only in your home. There is still no legal carrying of firearms in Chicago – even on your own back porch.

(h/t SayUncle)

Miscellanies

Not much today, just a couple of links.

Jenn at A Conservative Shemale linked to my Chicago Shenanigans post.

Courtesy of Weer’d Beard, we find the Periodic Table of Meat.

Northern Mexico is still a war zone.

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico – Gunmen stormed a party in northern Mexico on Sunday and massacred 17 people, authorities said.

The gunmen arrived at the party in Torreon in several cars and opened fire without saying a word, the Coahuila state Attorney General’s Office said in statement. At least 18 people were wounded.

That’s all I’ve got, right now.

Chicago Shenanigans

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell talks about Chicago’s gun registration and permitting process and, as expected, there are some wrinkles the city has thrown in to try and discourage or prevent people from completing the process. Some were expected – lots of paperwork (5 pages of forms), unusually short hours for the office handling the process (8:30 am to 3:30 pm), fingerprinting, 5 hours of “training” – but there are some unexpected ones, too. Like the vision requirement. That’s right, if your vision is not correctable to at least 20/50, you can’t legally own a gun in Chicago. Just to give you an idea what 20/50 vision means, look at this.

Snellen Chart

Snellen Chart

As you can see, 20/50 is certainly not good – it’s the fourth line from the top, counting the big “E” – but it’s certainly good enough to see and hit a human sized target at in-home distances – the only place guns are currently allowed in Chicago.

In the comments at Sebastian’s place, Fiftycal notes Chicago is violating the Privacy Act.

My quick review shows they want social security numbers. They do not indicate what for, which is a violation of the Privacy Act. To wit;

The Privacy Act regulates the use of SSNs by government agencies. When a federal, state, or local government agency asks an individual to disclose his or her SSN, the Privacy Act requires the agency to inform the person of the following: the statutory or other authority for requesting the information; whether disclosure is mandatory or voluntary; what uses will be made of the information; and the consequences, if any, of failure to provide the information.

But the real shenanigans? Apparently,  it’s also impossible to complete the forms. From commenter Melancton Smith at Sebastian’s blog.

Also note that currently the permit requires the license number of the State certified instructor.  That particular ‘license’ from the IL Dept of Professional Regulation (DPR) has no number, so the form cannot be completed even if one has the requisite training from a certified instructor.

How much do you want to bet they’ll deny every application that doesn’t have that non-existent number, even if the instructor physically comes in and shows their license to prove there is no number?

I bet there’s going to be at least one more lawsuit coming from this. I hope someone manages to get around at least some of these tyrants’ qualified immunity and bankrupt them personally.

Also, Chicago’s attempts to nullify McDonald have birthed a new category here – “Chicago Shenanigans.” Maybe Robb can come up with another cool graphic for everyone to use? It bet it’ll get a lot of use.

(h/t SayUncle)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: