Just like a recurring nightmare for the District of Columbia, he’s back. Attorney Alan Guru filed a new federal lawsuit last week to allow D.C. residents to lawfully carry guns on the streets of DC. It was not enough that gun rights advocates won the right for DC residents to keep handguns in their homes for protection. After overturning the DC gun ban, now they want guns on the street for protection. They’re using the same argument as in the previus lawsuit. Gun rights advocates now claim DC’s law prohibiting guns outside the home violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
Gun rights proponents argue the bad guys have guns and the good guys need guns too. If law abiding citizens think they can protect themselves with guns and outshoot the bad guys, God bless them. They are in for a rude awakening. DC will only become the wild wild west or the O.K. corral. More guns on the streets will lead to the loss of innocent lives. Imagine people leaving bars after drinking with loaded hand guns. With federal buildings, monuments, museums, tourists, Congress, Senators and the President here, it’s illogical to think the courts should allow citizens to carry guns on public streets. States and the District may place limitations on gun ownership. The Supreme Court’s decision striking down D.C.’s gun ban did not preclude limitations on gun ownership. Restrictions on gun ownership are valid to protect the public.
Yet, timing is everything. The timing of the challenge to DC’s gun law is important for understanding the real issue behind the argument. For 30 years, the DC gun ban stood. It stood through the years when DC was known as “chocolate city”. It stood without challenge when the city was overwhelmingly African American. It stood without challenge when homicide rates and crime rates were at their highest. No one contested the constitutionality of the gun ban then. As homicide and crime rates have decreased, gun rights proponents are increasing their battle. So why now?
As the racial composition of the city has changed, so has the desire to own guns for protection. As the District becomes more gentrified, the right to bear arms is now becoming front and center. Alan Guru is really fighting for the rights of some to defend themselves against their perception of black crime. That’s the component of this gun battle that is hidden behind Second Amendment rhetoric.
Gun rights advocates will do anything to advance their fight. They use gorilla tactics and hold the District hostage. A bill supporting DC voting rights in Congress was withdrawn because of gun law provisions attached to it. What do gun rights and DC voting rights have in common? DC will soon find out the answer again. With this new gun lawsuit, DC may be forced to decide between its love of gun restrictions or its love for voting rights. It may not be able to have two loves.