The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, August 13, 2004

D.C. Gun Ban

Stop The Bleating is reporting that a D.C. Circuit Panel consisting of Judges Sentelle, Tatel, and Williams has been appointed to hear Seegards v. Ashcroft, one of the many challenges to the unconstitutional D.C. Gun Law. This is great news and means we may actually have a chance of overthrowing the suit.

They are pretty certain that Sentelle will come down on the correct side and correctly pin Tatel out as a liberal leftist Clinton appointee. However, they don'tknow much about Judge Williams.

While I can't say I have practiced before him, I am familiar with him and consider his participation to be an excellent sign. In United States v. Bailey, 36 F.3d 106 (D.C. Cir. 1994) Judge Williams authored a compelling dissent that exposed the extremes that the judiciary had gone through in interpreting anti gun legislation, and focused on the ludicrous of the charging somone with "using" a firearm in the commission of a crime when in fact it is was not located on their person .
In recent years, our cases have produced such inconsistency largely because we have failed to identify a clear definition of the term "use" of a firearm; it is that failure that has led to our frequent second-guessing of juries. In attempting to mend the incoherence of our previous approach by articulating a "proximity" plus "accessibility" test, however, the court has in effect diluted "use" to mean simply possession with a floating intent to use. In all but the rarest case, then, a defendant will be subject to punishment under § 924(c) if guilty of a drug trafficking offense and, while committing the offense, was in possession of a firearm. I think the wording, history and context of § 924(c) call for a different bright-line rule--one requiring active "use" rather than possession with a contingent intent to use.
Bailey at 122.


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