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Heller: DC is a safer city after court strikes down concealed carry ban

Gun rights legend Dick Heller weights in on a federal judge throwing out Washington’s concealed carry ban.

The plaintiff in the Supreme Courtâ??s 2008 landmark gun case, District of Columbia v. Heller, told Human Events the Washington is a safer city after a federal judge July 24 struck down the concealed carry ban in the nationâ??s capital in the Palmer v. District of Columbia.

“I had just come into the house after going to the Dulles gun show, when I heard the news,” said Richard A. â??Dickâ? Heller, a Washington special police officer, who filed his own case while an armed guard at the Supreme Court building. At the end of each shift, Heller would have to turn in his handgun to the Supreme Courtâ??s armory and brave the streets disarmed.

“Washington is definitely a safer place tonight,” he said. “I am thrilled.”

Heller said the ruling by federal judge Frederick J. Scullin, released July 26, may affect his own Heller II case that is currently in appeal after it was dismissed by a federal district court judge.

Tom G. Palmer’s case, joined by attorney George L. Lyon and the Second Amendment Foundation, and others, deals with the right to carry a concealed firearm in the district, Heller said.

Heller II is the follow-up to original Heller decision, which overturned Washingtonâ??s total handgun ban, he said.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller’s favor, the district government concocted a massive administrative program, called the “Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008â? that made it virtually impossible to gain an actual permit, he said. “They just put up all sorts of hurdles.”

Former Human Events reporter, now a reporter for Washingtonâ??s Fox5 TV, Emily J. Miller, wrote a popular column for The Washington Times that documented her own struggles in the process eventually getting her concealed carry permit in the district. The struggle became her bestseller â??Emily Gets Her Gun.â?

The Palmer case is typical of the gun cases now brought to court by Alan Gura, who argued on behalf of Heller in the high courtâ??based on a legal theory developed by Dane von Breichenruchardt.

Gura chooses cases that reflect the diversity of the country in an effort to counter the narrative in the mainstream media that only straight white males care about gun rights. In this case, Palmer is a gay man. In fact, Palmer is a gay man, who claims to have turned back a bunch of would-be attackers, who were taunted him with anti-gay slurs, until he brandished a handgun.

On his blog,, Gura wrote that the Palmer ruling was a complete victory that barred the district government from issuing a concealed carry ban on both residents and non-residents of the nationâ??s capital.

“With this decision in Palmer, the nationâ??s last explicit ban of the right to bear arms has bitten the dust,” he said.

“Obviously, the carrying of handguns for self-defense can be regulated. Exactly how is a topic of severe and serious debate, and courts should enforce constitutional limitations on such regulation should the government opt to regulate,” he said. “But totally banning a right literally spelled out in the Bill of Rights isnâ??t going to fly.”


Written By

Neil W. McCabe is the editor of HE's "Guns & Patriots" e-letter and was a senior reporter at the Human Events newspaper. McCabe deployed with the Army Reserve to Iraq for 15 months as a combat historian. For many years, he was a reporter and photographer for "The Pilot," Boston's Catholic paper. He was also the editor of the free community papers "The Somerville (Mass.) News and "The Alewife (North Cambridge, Mass.)." Email him: Follow him on Twitter: @neilwmccabe.