Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ Category

DC Anti-Carry Law Overturned

Posted: July 28, 2014 by ShortTimer in Government, Guns, Second Amendment, Washington DC

From Alan Gura:

Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.

Of course, it’s only until DC can make a new law that’s only slightly less onerous.  But there is this for now:

Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

From Gura:

In 2012, I won Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012), which struck down Illinois’ total ban on the carrying of defensive handguns outside the home. With this decision in Palmer, the nation’s last explicit ban of the right to bear arms has bitten the dust. Obviously, the carrying of handguns for self-defense can be regulated. Exactly how is a topic of severe and serious debate, and courts should enforce constitutional limitations on such regulation should the government opt to regulate. But totally banning a right literally spelled out in the Bill of Rights isn’t going to fly.  My deepest thanks to the Second Amendment Foundation for making this victory possible and to my clients for hanging in there. Congratulations Americans, your capital is not a constitution-free zone.

Not sure I agree with Gura on the “obviously… can be regulated” part.  The Second Amendment is pretty clear that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Also not sure I agree with the “obviously… can be regulated” because once DC comes up with some new unconstitutionally absurd laws (mag limit of one round, no carrying within 10 miles of a school zone, etc.), this will have to be revisited.  That’s also why I’m more of an absolutist on 2A – as passively allowing regulation of a right has gotten us to the point where people can’t exercise the right at all, and where using the natural right of self-defense often gets the very people the law should protect (the law-abiding, peaceable but self-defending citizen) into hassles with statists who resent the authority the individual retains to self-defense.

The fact that an outright ban on a constitutional right even existed for any period of time in the nation’s capitol is hideously offensive, and it’s incredibly hypocritical for the seat of federal government to have utterly shat on the Bill of Rights for decades.

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But all that aside, Gura got it overturned, and it’s a very good step in the right direction.  Kudos to him and to the Second Amendment Foundation and all those other 2A groups that gave their support.

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Update:

According to Emily Miller, who’s been on this story for years:

DC police chief Lanier, using guidance from AG — grants full reciprocity for all open and concealed carry from others states.

Again:

Per DC Police Chief Lanier, the only gun arrests allowed now are DC residents with unregistered guns and non-residents who are prohibited under federal laws from possessing firearms. Everyone else is in the clear.

Two days ago there was the report of a DC businessman whose home was raided, family terrorized, and who faces 2 years in prison for a dud shotgun shell and a brass casing.

Today, there’s this, from the Daily Caller:

A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August — leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, journalist Audrey Hudson revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6. Hudson is a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter.

A search warrant obtained by TheDC indicates that the August raid allowed law enforcement to search for firearms inside her home.

A stone’s throw from DC, a twice Pulitzer-nominated reporter had her house raided by the police and DHS back in August, and now she’s revealed some of what they were looking for.

Her journalist files and notes related to confidential sources were seized as the police we looking for guns.  And why were they looking for guns?

The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

27 years ago her husband was guilty of resisting arrest.  What was he the actual crime he was arrested for more than a quarter century ago?  Story doesn’t say anything except resisting arrest.  So apparently he was arrested for resisting arrest.  Makes as much sense as anything.  His resisting arrest almost three decades ago, buying a non-functional potato gun from a Scandinavian, and being in pictures with guns on Facebook was apparently enough to warrant a 0-dark-30 night raid by armored law enforcement:

At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

Ms. Hudson had her guns taken by the police, of course:

During the raid, the officers also went after Hudson’s three pistols and three long guns, which she obtained legally.

She notes the guns were already known to the local PD due to a holiday happy fire noise complaint, and they didn’t care then.  Also, they belong to her, legally, yet apparently the state can simply seize her arms and her property, and her rights become revokable privileges because… uh… marriage?  Oh, no, wait, “it’s for the children!”

But the gun complaint looks secondary to the real purpose of the raid, to go after notes including names of whistleblowers who were critical of the Air Marshal service lying to congress about knowledge of terrorist and anti-terrorist activities and programs:

“In particular, the files included notes that were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,” Hudson wrote in a summary about the raid provided to TheDC.  …

She said she asked Bosch (ST: USCG/DHS investigator) why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was “legitimate” for her to have them.

“‘Legitimate’ for me to have my own notes?” she said incredulously on Wednesday.

Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: “A lot. More than one. There were a lot of names in those files.”

“This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,” Hudson said. “And these guys still work there.”

The Most Transparent Administration Ever going after whistleblowersTargeting reporters who might embarrass the administration?  Naaaaw…

Hudson has been a reporter in Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years and was nominated twice by The Washington Times for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a freelancer for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer.  …

Unlike some other reporters whose sources have been targeted in recent years by the government, Hudson said none of the information she had was classified or given to her by someone who broke the law.

“None of the documents were classified,” she said. “There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files.”

She notes that a lot of the files were “For Official Use Only” or “Law Enforcement Sensitive”.  Neither of these is a legal classification, just policy classifications for individual agencies.  Ms. Hudson says that she obtained the files through Freedom of Information Act requests.  Ultimately her possession of a FOUO or LE sensitive document is not illegal for her – the normal actions that can be taken with regards to those kind of documents are internal and administrative – an agency going after its own personnel for violating policies.  The only enforcement that could probably be used would be if there were some greater criminal conspiracy, which doesn’t seem to be the case – because if it were, they’d go after her for the documents and list her as an unindicted co-conspirator or some such, rather than simply ransack her house “looking for guns” as a pretext to grabbing files.

But it is rather telling to see journalist’s First Amendment rights abused through accepted abuse of Second Amendment rights.

Too bad she didn’t understand that rights are only for those who fully support the Obama administration and all of its decisions unquestioningly.

david gregory real reporter 2-

Fortunately, we here at The Patriot Perspective have no such worries.  I have prepared us for any such run-ins with the authorities by becoming good friends with a paginator from the State Investigating Committee.

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Update: Looks like the Daily Caller story just hit Drudge with this headline:

SWAT team raids investigative journalist’s home, seizes confidential files…

He didn’t include that the cited reason for the search was “guns are bad, m’kay”, but anyone reading it will see it at the third sentence in the story, after all.

Update 2: Ed over at HotAir agrees it looks like something is rotten in the state of Maryland.

Does the Maryland State Police usually troll Facebook to find illegal possession of firearms? Or is it more likely that DHS instigated this as a way to go after a longtime critic and reporter of the agency?  This certainly doesn’t look like a coincidence, and perhaps Congress might want to look into what looks like a gross abuse of power to silence reporters and punish whistleblowers.

George Orwell once said that if you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.

In DC, that future is now:

Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4.

The police banged on the front door of Mr. Witaschek’s Georgetown home at 8:20 p.m. on July 7, 2012, to execute a search warrant for “firearms and ammunition … gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts.”

None of that is illegal under the Constitution.  And the last part isn’t illegal under DC law (where which “shall not be infringed” means “licensed, restricted, forbidden, and banned for all but the ruling class”).

After entering the house, the police immediately went upstairs, pointed guns at the heads of Mr. Witaschek and his girlfriend, Bonnie Harris, and demanded they surrender, facedown and be handcuffed.

In recalling what followed, Mr. Witaschek became visibly emotional in describing how the police treated him, Ms. Harris and the four children in the house.

His 16-year-old son was in the shower when the police arrived. “They used a battering ram to bash down the bathroom door and pull him out of the shower, naked,” said his father. “The police put all the children together in a room, while we were handcuffed upstairs. I could hear them crying, not knowing what was happening.”

DCPD hard at work terrorizing children and teenagers.  I guess they must’ve wanted to do this Elian Gonzales-style.

The police shut down the streets for blocks and spent more than two hours going over every inch of his house. “They tossed the place,” said Mr. Witaschek. He provided photos that he took of his home after the raid to document the damage, which he estimated at $10,000.

The police found no guns in the house, but did write on the warrant that four items were discovered: “One live round of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition,” which was an inoperable shell that misfired during a hunt years earlier. Mr. Witaschek had kept it as a souvenir. “One handgun holster” was found, which is perfectly legal.

“One expended round of .270 caliber ammunition,” which was a spent brass casing. The police uncovered “one box of Knight bullets for reloading.” These are actually not for reloading, but are used in antique-replica, single-shot, muzzle-loading rifles.

Your federal tax dollars at work.

Emily Miller makes the same point I would:

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier reserves such harsh tactics for ordinary citizens. When NBC News anchor David Gregory violated the gun-registration law last year by wielding an illegal 30-round magazine on live television, he was not arrested.

Mr. Nathan also gave Mr. Gregory a pass, writing that prosecuting him “would not promote public safety.”

david gregory if I were you

Updated meme from Legal Insurrection

Of course, this isn’t the first time DCPD has done this kind of thing.  Not for US soldiers and not for vets who make the mistake of stopping at a veterans hospital.

Witaschek is looking at two years in prison for the shotgun shell and the brass.  Also noteworthy is that the DCPD skipped over to Virginia, where he keeps his guns, in order to go after him there.

Two weeks after the June raid, D.C. police investigators went to his sister’s house — unaccompanied by Virginia police and without a warrant — and asked to “view” the firearms, according to a police report. She refused. The next day, the D.C. police returned to her house with the Arlington County police and served her with a criminal subpoena.

Looks like that’s pretty conclusive evidence that if they know you have guns, they’ll go after you.  What triggered all this?  A false statement by an ex-wife that was found “without merit” by a judge.  Commenting on the tyranny of family law and how it’s horribly biased is a whole other can of worms, though.

In the meantime, it’s important to realize that this man’s children were dragged naked and handcuffed into a room while his house was ransacked and the entire block was shut off so a dud shotshell and a brass case could be found.  I’m sure that’s what the Founders meant by “shall not be infringed”, and non-sarcastically, this is what the left means by “reasonable gun control”.

No word on whether the DCPD is going to be wearing some snazzy Hugo Boss uniforms with skulls on them yet.

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UpdateLegal Insurrection has more about the disparity between this tyrannically aggressive enforcement and the non-enforcement when it comes to David Gregory.

Updated with Professor Jacobson’s newer version of the David Gregory meme replacing the older one to more accurately represent the case, too.

First, a good visual, via AP at HotAir; from the leftist New Republic:

new republic yeltsin

Their story from The New Republic is here, and is a phenomenal example of the blind leftist desire for tyranny:

What is a president in a presidential constitutional republic to do when faced with an intransigent, bull-headed faction among his people’s representatives?

Syria’s a presidential constitutional republic.  Is the answer “nerve gas civilians”?

Well, Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first democratically elected president, was once faced with a similar situation exactly 20 years ago, in October 1993. The parliament, then called the Supreme Soviet, was increasingly against Yeltsin’s neoliberal economic reforms (suggested to him by young Western advisors like Jeffrey Sachs). On one hand, these reforms freed up the old Soviet command economy.

So, Yeltsin was pushing for a reform that would break up a command economy, where government would no longer dictate how and where money will be spent.  Meanwhile, in Soviet America, Obama is pushing for a reform that will institute a command economy, where government dictates who and where money will be spent.

Yeltsin was pushing for reforms against state control, Obama is pushing for state control.

On the other, they drove the country into chaos and violence, and left tens of millions impoverished, their savings nullified by skyrocketing inflation.

I guess Yeltsin should’ve had Ben Bernanke doing some Quantitative Easing to hide the inflation a bit better.

The parliament, dominated by old Soviet conservatives, was increasingly against these reforms and refused to confirm Yeltsin’s key economic advisor.

In Soviet Russia, conservatives stand for crushing citizens with government!  In Soviet America, conservatives are terrorists and anarchists against government!

Almost exactly 20 years ago, he dissolved parliament. The vice president and the speaker of the parliament dissolved Yeltsin’s presidency, and holed up with their supporters in the parliament’s headquarters, now known as “the White House.”

Then Yeltsin did this to it.

1993 russia parliament

Oh, yes.  So The New Republic wants Obama to burn down the capitol building and dissolve congress and eliminate the representatives of the people so he can enact his “reforms” which create a command economy with regards to the health of every citizen.  It’s a bill that the Ruling Class exempts itself from (you really think Obama will be on Obamacare?), and which was pushed through without being read – passed so you can find out what’s in it rather than read it – by shady procedures in the middle of the night by a Democrat party that didn’t listen at all to what the people wanted, and the same Democrat party that knows Obamacare will fail the citizenry but knows it’s only a tool so it can be used institute a government-controlled single payer system.

On the other side of the Ruling Class statist coin, The National Interest, which seems today to mostly be a Ruling Class statist publication where party isn’t that important (with neocons it rarely is), asks “Is It Time To Abolish Congress?

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So, DC insiders on both the left and the right are asking if the people’s representatives should simply be done away with so the great leader can get on with his business of creating a command economy against the will of the citizenry.

Congress is representing their constituents, who vehemently oppose the Obamacare mandate and taxation.

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When faced with an intransigent, bull-headed governing body, the Founding Fathers did this:

stand your ground lexington concord 2

Just a few gun news stories from the last few days.

A NJ gun buyback program kept those dangerous war relic rifles and “assault shotguns” off the street.

Authorities say a 2-day gun buyback program staged in central New Jersey last weekend netted 218 firearms.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the weapons collected at a church in Asbury Park and the Rumson police department included 126 handguns, 39 shotguns, and 24 rifles.

Among the assault weapons surrendered was a Colt AR-15, a Mossberg assault shotgun and a World War II-era Japanese bolt-action rifle.

126+39+24=189  What were the other 29 firearms?  Muskets?

I’m sure pulling an Arisaka out of grandpa’s closet and destroying it really made the world safer.  I wonder if there are any artifacts in museums they’d like to destroy, too?

And seriously, an “assault shotgun”?  Unless maybe it was the gimmicky, asinine Mossberg Chainsaw, which is assaults the eyes with ugliness and absurdity.

mossberg chainsaw

You never go full Mossberg.

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Angela Giron, ousted Colorado Democrat, said she won.

The recall fight that my colleague, Colorado Senate President John Morse, and I lost demonstrated that no matter the cost of our political positions, common-sense gun-safety legislation is achievable. Colorado’s newest gun-safety laws have been in effect for months, and the recalls have no bearing on them. The legislation we helped pass proves that the gun lobby can be beaten.

She’s actually somewhat correct, in that she got her way.  She got greater government control, reduced citizen freedom, and she got to leave the lasting marks of tyranny in Colorado.  None of what she did was “common-sense” or “gun-safety”.  Remember, this is the same Colorado legislature that said women don’t know when they’re getting raped, and it’s better for them to get raped than defend themselves.

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At the Navy Yard memorial, Obama had to go and push him some gun control.  It was basically the same song and dance we’ve heard from gun banners in the last couple years.  Katie Pavlich pointed out that everything Obama said was ludicrous:

Got that? If you don’t support new “common sense” gun control measures, you just don’t care about preventing mass shootings. And with all due respect, mass shootings are not the new normal and are not on the rise as President Obama would like the country to believe. Violence in the streets of Chicago between rival gangs is normal. Mass shootings, are not.

Let’s refresh what happened last week: Mad man Aaron Alexis, who was hearing aliens talk to him, purchased a shotgun legally at a Virginia gun store after passing two background checks. He carved cryptic sayings into the shotgun like “better off this way,” and “my elf gun.” He then illegally took that gun into Washington D.C., illegally brought it into the Navy Yard and committed mass murder. When it comes to more gun control, I’m not exactly sure what Obama is trying to get out here. Is he implying we should institute more restrictions on basic shotguns?

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And finally, Larry Correia of Monster Hunter Nation utterly destroys some silly leftist’s gun control rant with devastating wit.  It’s a fun read:

Dear Gun Nuts

I’d say I qualify as a Gun Nut. My full weapons/tactics/legal resume is in the first link above.

So, a few things.

After the first time I shot a gun, I couldn’t hear anything for two days. This is because it was a .44 magnum and because I was eight and not wearing any ear protection.

Speaking as a retired firearms instructor, your father is an idiot.

It’s a huge gun—the kind Dirty Harry used—and my dad had to help me hold it as I pulled the trigger.

Dirty Harry would have slapped your dad upside the head for not giving you any ear plugs.

The next day, he had to explain to my third grade teacher why the only thing I could hear was a loud ringing.

If the explanation didn’t start out with “Because I’m an idiot— ” it was insufficient.

There are right ways and wrong ways to go about your gun-having. (And your son-having.) My dad did do a good job of teaching me about gun safety once I was able to hear him speak words again. He even went and bought ear protection.

Wow. He’s father of the year. And as we’ll see as Matt’s essay goes on, he didn’t do much to teach his kids critical thinking skills either.

 Growing up around guns made me feel comfortable with them. So, gun owners, I’m not against you.

He says before he goes into an article about how gun owners evil and stupid.

For a while, the 60 percent of Americans who don’t own personal firearms had a hard time figuring out how to communicate in the jargon of gun people.

You still can’t. When you people try to speak “gun culture” you sound like a white upper class suburbanite attempting hard core gangster rap. It is just pathetic and everyone is laughing at you. You learned your jargon from MSNBC or the New York Times, sources which are about as reliable and unbiased as Anthony Weiner’s Twitter feed.

But over the course of the last few dozen national conversations after mass shootings, we’ve all become armchair experts in arsenals.

Well, armchair expert. I’m an actual expert, which is why I can say with complete certainty that everything you go on to pontificate about in this letter is either flat out wrong or hyperbolically misleading.

It gets really good.  I recommend reading the whole thing.

Revisiting a big story.  From Emily Miller at the Washington Times, who has been sending some letters back and forth to DC officials:

…He sent back a Feb. 20 email from Victor Bonett in the attorney general’s office that said, “OAG is withholding the Jan. 9, 2013 letter from Lee Levine and certain responsive emails between OAG and MPD, pursuant to D.C. Official Code Section 2-534(a)(3)(A)(i), (a)(4) and (e).”

Mr. Levine’s letter provided new information, such as that the source of the “high-capacity” magazine. “Meet the Press briefly borrowed the empty magazine from a private citizen who lives outside of the District of Columbia and who ‘Meet the Press’ understood possessed the magazine lawfully,” he wrote.

The NBC lawyer also claimed, “The magazine was immediately returned to its owner following the broadcast.”

However, according to a police “property record” document, a Kay Industries 30-round magazine was recovered from Mr. Gregory (at a redacted address) as part of an active investigation. The document is signed on Jan. 9, two days after Mr. Levine said the magazine had been returned to its owner.

So the mag they claim they borrowed was returned and yet a mag was still seized.  So no matter what NBC’s story, if the DC police seized a mag, that’s all it takes to violate the law.  Mere possession, and that’s it.

Good to see folks with resources, regional proximity, and ability are pursing this.

No matter how it turns out, it’s a splendid case to use for anyone who’s arrested or charged from now on to illustrate a failure of equal application of the law.

David-Gregory already in jail

Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a bit more.

Since gun laws are now meaningless if you’re violating them for First Amendment purposes, it’s time for the million gun march on DC.

From Politico, via Drudge:

NBC’s David Gregory is off the hook for showing a high-capacity gun magazine on “Meet the Press” and will not be prosecuted, D.C.’s attorney general announced on Friday.

D.C. attorney general Irvin Nathan on Friday said he would decline to prosecute in the case involving the Sunday show host and any NBC staffers. In a letter to NBC’s attorney Lee Levine, Nathan wrote that after reviewing the matter, his office “has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated” with the broadcast.

Some animals are more equal than others.

The office made its decision “despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.”

Translation: “We know he broke the law, but f*ck you.”

Nathan noted that his office’s decision in this case was also influenced by “our recognition that the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States.”

Oh goodie!  You can use the First Amendment to promote destruction of the Second.  Let’s turn that around and see how it works, shall we?

Since there’s now a First Amendment exception to the law, it’s time for a million gun march on DC.

And from NBC:

“We displayed the empty magazine solely for journalistic purposes to help illustrate an important issue for our viewers. We accept the District of Columbia Attorney General’s admonishment, respect his decision and will have no further comment on this matter,” the show stated.

Yeah.  Just like you blew up pickup trucks.  But this hypocrisy was guaranteed to be a win-win, and it still is a win.  Hypocrisy exposed, gun laws meaningless under the David Gregory exception.  There’s now a new exemption to prosecution.

Update: HotAir has more of the letter from the DC AG.