Heller vs. District of Columbia is easily one of the most important Supreme Court decisions ever. Even if the lower courts aren’t paying much attention to it, it definitively protects the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right and bars state and local governments from banning classes of firearms.
Sure, they do it, but that’s only until the Supreme Court smacks them down.
However, the plaintiff in that case, Dick Heller, may well be looking at filing a second lawsuit against the city.
Dick Heller, whose lawsuit led the Supreme Court to declare blanket handgun bans unconstitutional, told the Washington Free Beacon that he may sue the city for hindering his right to bear arms in the face of long wait times for purchases.
Heller has been waiting since mid-April for police to process a transfer for a .32 caliber handgun he purchased in Pennsylvania. He accused city authorities of dragging their feet.
“It’s a bureaucracy and they’re understaffed,” Heller told the Free Beacon. “They couldn’t care less. They are noticeably not in a hurry.”
Residents who wish to purchase guns must go through the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the only federally licensed gun dealer in the city—an arrangement unique to the nation’s capital. In neighboring Virginia, as with many states across the country, handgun transfers and the background checks that accompany them generally take minutes instead of months. The department told the Free Beacon that record demand was to blame for the delays.
“In less than three months that MPD has been handling this service, the Department has received about half of the guns that the prior Federal Firearms Licensee received in all of 2019,” department spokeswoman Alaina Gertz said. “We are currently reexamining processes to try to identify additional efficiencies.”
Heller is far from alone in this. Over at the Washington Free Beacon, Stephen Gutowski has others who are experiencing similar delays.
To be fair, demand for firearms is way up all across the country. That’s not the fault of the MPD.
Yet even with that increased demand, no one else is experiencing these delays. Further, I recall hearing reports of delays even before the COVID-19 surge in sales began, though that may well be apocryphal.
Regardless, though, the MPD took it upon themselves to handle transfers within the city when the only gun store in town shut its doors. That means they need to step up and do their jobs.
So why aren’t they? Why are they content to allow this backup to continue? After all, gun stores staffed with only a few people in total are able to keep up, why can’t a major metropolitan police department do as well?
The reason is simple. They don’t want to keep up.
See, gun stores keep up with things because if there’s a delay that is their fault, people will simply stop using the gun store in question and take their business elsewhere. The MPD has no such concern. For them, this is more akin to a favor they’re doing for the gun-buying public and not a priority. To them, a delay means nothing.
In short, they simply don’t care.
If Heller and others file a lawsuit, though, they might want to rethink that uncaring attitude.