Jan 5, 2010

Posted in 2nd Amendment

Sorry Gilbert Arenas. Heller did not legalize carrying firearms into the Verizon Center.

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The holding of D.C. v. Heller was very simple. D.C. could no longer ban the possession of firearms to be kept in a resident’s home. Heller does not touch the right to carry a firearm outside one’s home. Apparently, Washington Wizard star Gilbert Arenas did not get the memo.

Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas says he took unloaded guns from his locker in a “misguided effort to play a joke” on a teammate. Arenas released a written statement Monday after meeting with law enforcement officials. Arenas’ lawyer says the player voluntarily met with prosecutors and detectives and answered every question during a two-hour interview. In his statement, Arenas repeated his assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children. He said he mistakenly believed that recent changes in District of Columbia law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns there.

Arenas undoubtedly is referring to Heller here. Amazing how the landmark case, even if misunderstood by this athlete, has made it into the cultural zeitgeist.  But Arenas would be well-served to read JoshBlackman.com. Maybe then he could stay out of trouble.

H/T Sentencing Blog

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  • http://www.southernappeal.org Alberto Hurtado

    That point is interesting, although having followed many of Arena’s statements over this (save his stuff on Twitter) they have been quite managed and could only come from a lawyer.

  • terrymac

    How is it that activities which are perfectly legal in Virginia are illegal when one steps over the border of the District of Colombia? Does the same thing happen with, for example, one’s marriage? Does it become legal and illegal as one crosses borders? Why isn’t the fundamental right to keep and bear arms equally recognized as a universal right?

    • Josh Blackman

      Terrymac,
      States (and the District of Columbia) are free to experiment with different criminal justice systems. But they are not allowed to criminalize actions that are specifically protected by the Constitution. The full faith and credit clause of the Constitution mandates that State A recognize a marriage performed in State B.

  • steve rappoport

    Josh, are you saying that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional to the extent that it authorizes a state to refuse to recognize a gay marriage that was lawfully contracted in another state?

    • Josh Blackman

      I did not address DOMA, but I knew this question was coming. The constitutionality of DOMA is a tough call. We will see how the Courts consider it with the Olson/Boises litigation.

  • steve rappoport

    Lots of things are tough calls. I do not want to wait until the courts decide. I want your viewpoint.

    You are writing a blog. Do you think that you will keep your readers if you respond to a question by pointing out that it is “a tough call”?

    • Josh Blackman

      When I opine on things, I have generally given it a huge amount of thought. DOMA is an issue I have not studied closely in about 2 years, and I remember when I studied it, I hadn’t made up my mind yet. So rather than giving an uninformed opinion, I think I better serve my audience by being forthright. When I make up my mind, I’ll let you know

  • steve rappoport

    What interests me about the Full Faith and Credit Clause is the second sentence. The Clause reads:

    “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

    I see nothing in the second sentence that gives Congress the right to say that the clause should not be applicable. Neither the word “Manner” nor the word “Effect” seem capable of allowing Congress to make the clause discretionary. I think that there is a Supreme Court case out there that does limit the clause, but I need to find it and read it to see whether the reasoning makes sense.

    Anyway, I think that this subject would be worthy of your thinking.

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