TEXT ON SCREEN: The US Supreme Court has struck down a 32-year-old ban of handguns in the District of Columbia.
DC Gun Ban Overturned
Produced by Davin Hutchins & Garland McLaurin
PROTESTER: Well, we don’t think you should have to check your rights at the door just when you come into the district. The Second Amendment gives us the right to keep and bear arms, and we don’t want that to be infringed any longer. So we want to see the DC gun ban overturned.
INTERVIEWER: What about the people that make the argument that for the 30 years they had the gun ban, it was working fine?
PROTESTER: Well, how is it working fine? Do you have any statistics to show us that? The murder rate in DC is higher than almost anywhere else in the country—with the strictest gun laws.
DICK ANTHONY HELLER, PLAINTIFF, HELLER VS DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Well, I’m very pleased to have been able to take this case, with help from my attorneys, all the way to the highest court in the land. And I’m very happy that now I’m able to defend myself and my household in my own home.
GILLIAN ST. LAWRENCE, PLAINTIFF, HELLER VS DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: I’m thrilled that after being involved in this case for six years, I’m finally going to be able to take the trigger lock off my shotgun and load it if I need to be able to defend myself in my own home. And I’m just hoping DC can work with this decision and get a process out as soon as possible so we can all go out and purchase our hand guns.
ALAN GURA, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFFS: Thank you all very much for coming here today. This is a fantastic day for civil rights in our country. It’s a great day for the City of Washington and all law-abiding Americans, who have had their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms restored by this court. The court today did its duty by striking down legislation that interfered with individual liberty.
TEXT ON SCREEN: In the 1990s, DC was known as the murder capital of the United States. Homicide rates peaked in 1991.
ADRIAN FENTY, MAYOR OF WASHINGTON: Well, you’ve heard a lot of big-city mayors around the country talk about the enormous amount of guns in those big cities. That’s true here in Washington, DC, as well. There are legal guns and illegal guns that make their way into the hands of criminals. What we believe—and this is supported by law enforcement and, specifically, our chief—is that in the same way that illegal handguns move through the black market, legal handguns will also move through the black market, and in that way, they will end up in the hands of criminals, who will use them for the types of crime that happen still too much.
GURA: And from the Brady Campaign’s perspective, while we expect there will be a lot more court cases and a lot more challenges as the courts around the country fight out the meaning of the Second Amendment, it’s clear that what the court did today is they limited the extremes. They said that you can no longer have near-total prohibitions on guns, but they also said you can have reasonable restrictions on guns. The most immediate impact beyond the District of Columbia is, I think, criminal defense lawyers are going to start raising this as a challenge, perhaps this afternoon, even, if they’ve got any criminal cases that have any gun charges involved in the criminal case. I think we’re going to see a lot more threats to gun laws. We’re going to see a lot more court action on gun laws. But I’m hopeful that we can now start seeing some progress on gun legislations.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.