After the historic decision where the Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applied to individuals in the Heller decision, the victorious attorney Alan Gura filed another suit in the District of Columbia. The object of this lawsuit was simple: Require the D.C. government to allow a person to carry a handgun for defense outside of the home. From The Washington Times:
The lawsuit argues that the District’s “laws, customs, practices and policies generally banning the carrying of handguns in public violate the Second Amendment” of the U.S. Constitution. It asks that the District issue licenses to carry guns in public to legal gun owners in the city and to people with valid carry permits from outside the city.
The case was filed on August 6th, 2009. Early in the case, a decision was expected by the end of April, 2010. Judge Kennedy did not rule by April of 2010.
In July of 2010, Alan Gura filed cases concerned with the Second Amendment right to bear arms in New York and in Maryland.
Judge Kennedy did not rule in 2010 at all. The plaintiffs waited. Then they waited some more. The Chief Justice said that all the justices were heavily burdened. In July of 2011, Palmer v. DC was reassigned to Judge Frederick J. Scullin by Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court.
Judge Scullin did not rule on the case in 2011. The case had now been in the courts for two and a half years.
In March, 2012, the Maryland case was favorably ruled on by the original court.
Judge Scullin did not rule on the case in 2012. However, he did schedule a hearing, cancel it, and reschedule it. There was a hearing held on October,1, 2012. The judge said that he would rule quickly, though that is a subjective judgement.
The Maryland case, Woolard, was scheduled to be appealed and heard in the 4th circuit in October, 2012.
In March of 2013, the Fourth Circuit reverses the Woolard District Court ruling.
September 11, 2013. More than four years have passed since the case was filed. The Maryland case has been heard, ruled on, appealed, and ruled on appeal. The New York Case has been heard, ruled on, appealed, and ruled on appeal. Both cases were filed nearly a year after the Palmer case was filed in the District of Columbia.
Speculation abounds that the delay in the District court in D.C. is deliberate. From opencarry.org:
This delay is intentional. Why, you ask? It is because there is no States rights issue in the Federal Disttrict (sic) to balance againmst (sic) the rights of citizens. Delaying this case, and bringing only flawed other cases to SCOTUS means they are playing the waiting game. Wait until one of the 5 conservatives dies, then bring in cases to roll back Heller.Four years is a long time for a simple ruling. Perhaps this is a "hot potato" that the judges do not want their name attached to. Perhaps they have hoped for another case in the courts to overtake this one and render it moot.
Since the case was filed, Illinois was forced by a ruling in the Seventh Circuit to pass a shall issue concealed carry permit law, leaving the District of Columbia the only jurisdiction in the nation that has a complete ban on the carry of handguns outside of the home.
It is clear that Justice has long been delayed in this case. Actions such as this, though they may be innocent, give the impression of corruption, of a lack of concern for the Constitution. They erode public confidence in the judicial system. The time for a decision in this case is long, long, overdue. To paraphrase the famous quote, justice has long been delayed, and has thus been denied.
©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.