EDITORIAL: Gun rights for D.C.

New suit seeks to overturn laws preventing gun ownership

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Too often, it seems city officials in Washington would like to forget they must operate under the Constitution. The District has gone out of its way to deny residents any meaningful ability to protect themselves at home with a firearm, prompting the Second Amendment Foundation to file a lawsuit on Tuesday to allow gun purchases in the nation’s capital.

The landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case should have settled the matters like this three years ago. In its ruling, the Supreme Court smacked down D.C. gun-control measures and reaffirmed the constitutional protection for the individual’s right to own a handgun. Since then, the District has cooked up a labyrinth of pointless restrictions and rules crafted to ensure this fundamental right would rarely be exercised. The city may have gone a step too far, as it is now impossible for any law-abiding citizen to obtain a gun in the nation’s capital.

That’s because the District manipulated its zoning laws to ensure gun brokers would not be welcome. With no gun stores, the only way to obtain a pistol lawfully is to make a purchase in another state and have the gun shipped to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder in the District. A federal law prohibits acquisition of a firearm across state lines in any other way.

The lone FFL holder doing business in Washington recently lost his lease and can no longer perform such transfers. That left D.C. resident Michelle Lane in the lurch after she ordered Kahr K9 and Ruger LCR handguns from a dealer in Lorton last month. The Second Amendment Foundation filed the federal court challenge on her behalf, arguing that she is being denied equal protection of the laws because of where she lives.

It’s time for the gun grabbers to realize they’ve lost the argument on legal grounds and with the general public. The city council is all too happy to blow taxpayer money on the bogus claim that the District suffers from “taxation without representation.” Before the federal city makes the claim that it somehow deserves a pair of Senate seats permanently allied to the Democratic Party, it ought to demonstrate its worth by respecting the entire Bill of Rights, not just the parts it happens to agree with.

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