That part sounded a little funny, don't you think? He's arguing that the gun ban is effectively still in place and that the only major improvement is that people can keep their long guns available if no kids are around, and this accounts for a 25% decrease in murders. To me that sounds like an incredible conclusion to make. How about you?
On Friday, a federal District Court judge tried to indirectly reinstate the D.C. handgun ban. Judge Ricardo Urbina, a Clinton appointee, wants to make it so difficult for people living in DC to use a handgun defensively that few will get one.
Last September, a Washington Post reporter, Christian Davenport, found out just how difficult it still is to get a handgun in D.C. even after the Supreme Court struck down the city's handgun ban. Excluding the price of the gun, the reporter spent $558.69 in various fees to get through the approval process. But that was only part of the cost. It took him "a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam."
So when do these types of regulations constitute just as much of a ban on handguns as an outright ban? A dollar tax solely on newspapers would clearly be struck down as unconstitutional. The power to regulate can destroy both the First and Second Amendments. Despite the costs, about a thousand people may have gotten handgun permits. That is only about 0.2 percent of adults living in D.C. The big change from the 2008 Heller decision might have simply been that D.C. law now requires that gun owners (primarily those owning long guns) only have to store their guns locked and unloaded if minors might have access to them. And it is probably this change that helps explain why D.C.'s murder rate fell by 25 percent the year after the handgun ban was struck down as unconstitutional.
In spite of the statements in “The Bill of Rights” that "Congress shall make no law" or "shall not be infringed," courts don't view constitutional rights as absolutes. Courts now ask whether the benefits from the law outweigh the constitutional rights lost -- so-called "balancing" tests.
Here we've got the old "absolute" interpretation of the Bill of Rights. But, as usual, the "militia" part is left out and all the focus is on the "shall not be infringed."
I always find John Lott to be a bit of a spin doctor. I suppose his opponents are as well. What do you think?
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