L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 200, November 25, 2002
LEGAL SCHOLARS CRAFT SECOND AMENDMENT CHALLENGE TO DC GUN BAN
Cato Institute legal scholars are crafting a legal strategy for challenging District of Columbia laws on Second Amendment grounds. The city's gun ban is among the most restrictive in the nation.
A 1976 law passed by the D.C. city council forbids most District residents from owning a handgun. Only law enforcement officers and residents who owned their (registered) guns prior to 1976 are exempt. Residents who already own a registered firearm are not allowed to keep it loaded unless they get a one-year license from the D.C. police chief, which is entirely at his discretion.
"D.C.'s blanket provisions are patently unreasonable," said Robert A. Levy of the Cato Institute, speaking Wednesday at a George Mason University law school forum hosted by Law Students for the Second Amendment and the Federalist Society.
Americans have a right to defend themselves against harm, Levy said; "no government ... should be permitted to take that away." ...
The Justice Department has broad discretion in the use of wiretaps and other surveillance techniques to track suspected terrorists and spies, a federal appeals court panel ruled Monday.
In a 56-page opinion overturning a May decision by the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the three-judge panel said the expanded wiretap guidelines sought by Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) under the new USA Patriot Act law do not violate the Constitution.
WRONGED SIDE OF THE TRACKS?
'Railfans' Complain of Police Scrutiny in Terror Era
On a balmy Sunday afternoon late last month, Richard Whitenight did what he often does on his days off: He went to a busy railroad junction in Fort Worth to watch the trains roll by.
But as he sat making notes about passing freight trains, two police cruisers approached. Over the next five hours, Whitenight -- who works for the police department in nearby Arlington, Tex. -- identified himself to the officers. Then he identified himself to the officers' supervisor, then a detective from a terrorism task force, then the FBI. They seized his trainspotter's notebook and grilled him about every mark and note in it. They searched his car and took photos of it, inside and out. Finally, he had to sign a form agreeing never to return to the location known as Tower 55 ...
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