Let the cowering commence!
No one will be happy with the new District of Columbia handgun law. It is not stringent enough for handgun opponents, and will be abused. It will not please handgun enthusiasts: the registration process does not even have a drive-through window or one-hour service.I won't argue that DC's proposed new regulations won't make anyone happy, but the reasons they will not satisfy gun rights advocates are quite a bit more substantial than simply lacking a drive-through. The proposed process includes a vision test (which may well be struck down as discriminatory against the disabled), a written test (which should remind everyone of the infamous "literacy tests" once used to stop black voters from voting), a ban on semiautomatic handguns, a waiting period, and many other onerous requirements.
Handgun fanciers want the weapons As Seen on TV! ? the ones that never need reloading, don?t recoil, aim themselves, and always hit what they are pointed at. And they want them now.Well, sure, those guns sound nice... pity they don't exist. I'd settle for
the best currently available handgun technology, which is the basic semiautomatic handgun commonly carried by both the police and the military. While revolvers are a step up from nothing at all, revolvers do not represent the best available technology -- and in fact a ban on semiautomatic handguns represents a ban almost as broad and sweeping as the one that the Supreme Court struck down in Heller.
As for wanting them "now"... that's how a fundamental right works. The government does not get to stand in the way and play parent. How many people will die due to government-imposed waiting periods -- because they could not get a self-defense handgun before their attacker got them?
But semi-automatic handguns are classified as machine guns in the DC Code, and D.C. citizens will not be allowed to register them. The choice is limited to revolvers or single-shot target pistols. Too bad TV is awash in crime shows. If Gunsmoke was still popular, revolvers would in greater demand.Never mind the absurdity of defining normal semiautomatic rifles and pistols as "machine guns" in order to mislead the public; that level of chutzpuh is par for the course in DC.
Revolvers fire five or six shots and then need reloading. With semi-automatics, folks who cannot hit what they aim at after six tries can kill or injure up to thirteen innocent bystanders. No wonder everyone wants semi-automatics! Under Washington?s new law, handguns must be kept in the home, so bystanders will certainly be family, friends, and neighbors. Of course, those are most often the targets of civilian handguns anyway.How often have you read about a ordinary man defending himself in his own home who shoots the wrong person, no matter how many shots they fire? While there are plenty of people who do stupid things with guns and hurt themselves or others, those are not usually actions taken in self-defense. Civilian gun owners acting in self-defense tend to not need to fire their gun at all, and in the rare case where they must do so, they almost never hit an innocent bystander. I can't think of a single documented case of an ordinary civilian doing so by mistake, in fact.
Actually, one bunch of folks loves the new law. Local burglars are ecstatic. It is much easier to leave a break-in with a handgun than a bulky big-screen TV.Funny, those are the same folks who are absolutely terrified of being confronted by an armed citizen defending his home with a handgun, many of whom have been captured and held for the police (not shot, mind you!) by one, or have had their friends similarly apprehended. I don't imagine criminals will be celebrating, especially since illegal guns are not exactly scarce in DC.