Backers of gun rights hit some big targets
“That tells you something,” Mr. Workman said. “What it should be telling Washington, D.C.’s government is they need to wake and smell the coffee before it spills in their lap.”
The District’s gun laws are no strangers to controversy. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s long-standing handgun ban in the District of Columbia v. Heller, a landmark case that has been held up as a strong affirmation of Second Amendment rights.
Gun laws are frequent bargaining chips in local leaders’ efforts to gain more autonomy from Congress. More than once, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have attempted to amend the city’s approach to firearms through legislative “riders” on bills aimed at giving the city a voting member of the House or extending the District’s control over its local budget.
City officials have strenuously defended their strict gun laws. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, has pointed to the number of high-profile leaders and diplomats who are in the city and need protection.
“Every major American city has diplomatic officials,” Mr. Gura said. “There are many important people everywhere, and my clients are important people.”
Mr. Mendelson did, however, shepherd a bill to passage this year that cuts training sessions and other impediments to registering guns in the District.
In neighboring Maryland, a judge in July ordered the state to stop enforcing a law that requires applicants to provide a “good and substantial” reason why they should obtain a permit to carry. The courts later decided that the law may be enforced while an appeal is pending.
Mr. Gura led the effort against Maryland. However, he recently lost a similar case against New York. He said he will ask the nation’s highest court to take up the case.
“It’s a strong petition,” he said.
The courts may vary in their interpretations of Columbia v. Heller and other landmark gun cases, but strong language in the Illinois decision showed at least one judge feels that no one place stands above the rest.
“There is no suggestion that some unique characteristic of criminal activity in Illinois justifies the state’s taking a different approach from the other 49 states,” Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in his majority opinion. “If the Illinois approach were demonstrably superior, one would expect at least one or two other states to have emulated it.”
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