Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Setting DC's gun laws straight

So Megan McArdle posts about DC's new gun laws intended to pretend to comply with the recent Supreme Court ruling. The howlers:

* Allowing an exception for handgun ownership for self-defense use inside the home.


* Firearms in the home must be stored unloaded and disassembled, and secured with either a trigger lock, gun safe, or similar device. The new law will allow an exception for a firearm while it is being used against an intruder in the home.

My comment on McArdle's blog:

Wow, talk about levels of stupid. Keeping a gun like that makes it useless in home defense. Plus, DC doesn't have "stand your ground" laws, so you'll almost certainly be in a position where the time it takes to get the gun ready will be less than the time it takes for you to run away, and so anything other than running away will get your sorry self prosecuted.

Moreover, while I see a home-use exception, I don't see a transport-to-home-when-you-bought exception. No, it's not an oversight, no it's not implicit, and yes it will be abused. DC police will monitor gunstores, even if out of the district, wait for the driver to enter DC, pull them over on probable cause, catch them with a gun outside the home, and then they're in deep trouble.

Don't think they won't try this.

As for the ballistic fingerprinting -- I don't think it's too unfriendly to the rights specified in the Second Amendment, but it does seem rather useless and thus counts as a "we're just throwing this in to make it harder for you" which THEN would sound unconstitutional.

ADDENDUM:Okay, now I feel stupid. Turns out there's this provision:

Rules for transporting firearms legally within the District:

1. When the law allows transporting a firearm legally, the owner must transport it unloaded and securely wrapped in a package, with the package visible in plain view.

Nevertheless, I don't think it takes away from my main point, since:

1) This provision seems very unlikely for anyone to get completely right on the first trip home from the gun shop.

2) They can still tail people from shops outside the District.

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