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Thread: D.C. Officials Weigh Keeping Semiautomatic Pistols Illegal After Blanket Handgun Ban is Struck Down

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,377203,00.html



    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's repeal of the ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., may be a boon for a segment of the firearms industry whose last major windfall might have been in the heyday of the Dirty Harry movies: those who make and sell revolvers.

    The court ruled that a blanket ban on handguns is unconstitutional, but D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and other Washington officials want to keep in place a prohibition on semiautomatic handguns — those in which a bullet clip is inserted into the gun's grip.

    Such a ban would continue to outlaw 9-mm and other popular pistols that are legal in most other places around the United States. And it would make the classic six-shooter the only legal handgun in the District.

    For revolver manufacturers, a ban on semiautomatics in Washington could be good for business.

    "If there's a total ban on all semiautomatic handguns, oh, absolutely," said Paul Pluff, spokesman for Smith & Wesson, the nation's top revolver manufacturer. Smith & Wesson sold 185,000 revolvers in 2006, 48 percent of all revolvers made that year in the United States, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms statistics released in January.

    Pluff recalled the last time revolver sales went through the roof — back in the 1970s.

    "Clint Eastwood — for several years — he was salesman of the year," Pluff said of the actor who portrayed vigilante cop Harry Callahan. In the Dirty Harry films, Eastwood's character brandished a Magnum .44-caliber Model 29 Smith & Wesson.

    The District of Columbia is currently in the midst of two parallel efforts to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. The mayor's administration is revising its rules on dealing with registration and ownership of handguns, and separately, the D.C. Council is working on changing the city's laws.

    D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, who sponsored a bill last week to address the court's decision, told FOXNews.com he's willing to consider the fate of semiautomatic handguns, but he doesn't think it needs to be addressed immediately. His bill would not change the semiautomatic weapons law.

    He said the first thing the council will need to do is address the court's ruling that D.C.'s law must include a self-defense provision.

    "I think we should look at the definition of semiautomatics in relation to what's prohibited, but I'm seeing a short-term and a long-term approach. .... And in the short term, I don't think we need to address it," Mendelson said.

    At the moment, neither the mayor's nor the council's efforts appear aimed at changing the city's ban on semiautomatic guns.

    "Under District law that the Supreme Court did not disturb, automatic and semiautomatic handguns generally may not be registered. Revolvers in the home will be legal and, as before, residents remain free to register most shotguns and rifles," reads the city's Web site.

    "Automatic and semiautomatic handguns generally remain illegal in the District of Columbia with this ruling," Fenty said at a news conference following the court's ruling.

    In 1976, Washington, D.C., outlawed handguns altogether. And although the city allowed residents to own other firearms like rifles and shotguns, it was illegal from that point on to keep them loaded, even inside the home.

    The only handguns that remained legal following the ban were revolvers owned by residents and business owners before the ban was instituted — and those, too, had to be kept unloaded. According to city records taken in the months after the 1976 ban, some 42,000 handguns were legally registered at the time, but none of the records remain on how many were residents, business owners, or police officers, who also had to register their guns.

    According to ATF, 73 percent — or more than 1 million guns sold in the U.S. in 2006 — were semiautomatic pistols. National Rifle Association spokeswoman Rachel Parsons said if city officials try to keep semiautomatics outlawed, they can expect to hear from her organization.

    "The NRA is going to ensure that D.C. actually complies with its own laws and with the Supreme Court's decisions," she said.

    According to Parsons, D.C. code already has an allowance for some semiautomatic handguns — pistols with a magazine holding fewer than 12 live rounds were grandfathered under the now-overturned 1976 ban.

    "They are falsely claiming that all semiautomatic handguns are banned," Parsons said. She said the NRA will wait until the city sets its new rules to decide how to respond.

    The District interprets its prohibition to encompass all semiautomatic handguns. Alan Gura, one of the lawyers who represented D.C. residents seeking gun rights
    in District of Columbia v. Heller, said one line of D.C. code basically renders semiautomatic handguns as a machine gun, which would still be illegal.

    Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."

    Gura said the Heller decision does not protect "dangerous or unusual weapons" — like fully automatic, military style machine guns — but it does protect weapons "in common use" or those people would use for "lawful purposes." Semiautomatics, which police departments have made their weapon of choice, would fall under that category, Gura said.

    "It's unfortunate that, you know, they seem to think that a ban on semiautomatic firearms is constitutional. It's not," Gura said. "Semiautomatics are garden variety. It's a normal, non-exotic, typical technology. It does not let you spray bullets. ... People here 'automatic,' and they think, 'Oh, it's Rambo.' It's not."
    Mendelson said he does have a limit to what he thinks is safe.

    "I think an individual possessing a handgun that can fire 18 rounds — that is loaded and can fire 18 rounds semiautomatically — is a problem for public safety in the District," Mendelson said. "I don't know what the correct number is, but something less (than 18 shots)."

    Peter Nickles, interim attorney general for the city, said it remains to be seen whether the city will include any updates on semiautomatics as part of its rules changes. Currently, the city is trying to balance a number of issues, including meeting the court's ruling and avoiding further legal challenges.

    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.

    "From an accuracy standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, revolvers are still very popular," Pluff said.
    He said the chief priority in his mind for a self-defense weapon is "to take myself away from danger. ... For most people, most confrontations, it's not going to be a high volume of rounds being shot."

    But, Pluff said, when it comes to safety inside the home — a major question in the minds of policymakers — semiautomatics and revolvers are no different.
    "Any gun is safe if properly stored and properly handled. ... Whether it's a semiautomatic or a revolver, it's a mechanical device. If you put that gun on a table and nobody touches it and nobody misuses it, that gun will never go off," Pluff said. "Any gun can be safe or unsafe depending on the person's consciousness to safety.”


    Edit: Formatting

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    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?

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    xd.40 wrote:
    "It's unfortunate that, you know, they seem to think that a ban on semiautomatic firearms is constitutional. It's not," Gura said. "Semiautomatics are garden variety. It's a normal, non-exotic, typical technology. It does not let you spray bullets. ... People here 'automatic,' and they think, 'Oh, it's Rambo.' It's not."
    So, it will be interesting if Alan Gura ever tries to get the NFA, GCA and FOPA repealed through a suit. Trading one right for another...



    Anyhow. Go revolvers! :celebrate

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    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    Well, I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't play one on tv, but I would think a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted directly on the non moving barrel would be more accurate than a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted on a slide that holds the barrel loosely enough to allow it to slide back and forth.

    Personally I'm not sniping with my pistol and my Glock does the job just fine.

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    So if DC makes this stick. Two wheel-guns would be good. But wait until they tell you how many guns you can own. Oh, it's coming. I'd like to invite there mayor and police chief on a huntingour fishing trip. You know get them away from it all. let em relax and kick back. I'd like to get to know them better. I think before it's over we'll have something in common. Don't anybody dare take that the wrong way! OK! Take it exactly how it reads.

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    Video of DC Council meeting on DC v Heller.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...070202774.html

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    Just a note...

    Do they really believe people are not committing suicide because they do not have access to handguns?

    I guess it makes sense that they believe that based on other beliefs. I still want to believe that they are not that stupid and are just grasping for reasons to why they do not want to comply with the Constitution of the United States of America!

    And we have a SCOTUS ruling to back up our beliefs in individual ownership.


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    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    It's an argument that the shotgun-chic gallus snappers like to make; that your fine manual skills degrade under stress and a simpler revolver's operation is not so much degraded.

    LOADED, MUZZLE, TRIGGER, TARGET; pull, bang sounds as simple DA/SA auto or DA wheel gun.

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    murphy2 wrote:
    So if DC makes this stick. Two wheel-guns would be good. But wait until they tell you how many guns you can own. Oh, it's coming. I'd like to invite there mayor and police chief on a huntingour fishing trip. You know get them away from it all. let em relax and kick back. I'd like to get to know them better. I think before it's over we'll have something in common. Don't anybody dare take that the wrong way! OK! Take it exactly how it reads.
    DC has as much chance of making this stick as Dennis Kucinich does of having a coherent thought. The semi-auto ban is so obviously foreclosed by Heller that you have to question whether under current law, Fenty himself would be permitted to purchase ANY gun ANYWHERE, due to his obvious mental deficits.
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    xd.40 wrote:
    According to Parsons, D.C. code already has an allowance for some semiautomatic handguns — pistols with a magazine holding fewer than 12 live rounds were grandfathered under the now-overturned 1976 ban.

    "They are falsely claiming that all semiautomatic handguns are banned," Parsons said. She said the NRA will wait until the city sets its new rules to decide how to respond.

    The District interprets its prohibition to encompass all semiautomatic handguns. Alan Gura, one of the lawyers who represented D.C. residents seeking gun rights
    in District of Columbia v. Heller, said one line of D.C. code basically renders semiautomatic handguns as a machine gun, which would still be illegal.

    Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."
    Show me a semiautomatic handgun that cannot accept an extended magazine holding more than 12 rounds (other than the C96 Mauser; when was the last time that was a popularCC weapon?)and I will listen to whatMs. Parsons has to say. However, any Glock, Ruger, M&P/Sigma/S&W,XD, Sig, and Taurus can accept any length magazine made for it, and thelawdoes not consider whetherhigher-cap magsthat fit the gun exist (becauseif the design accepts mags of any length it is "designed" to take them), only whetherthe gunwould be illegalif they did, and duh, yes it would.

    This is quite simply an attempt to use a law that was not at issue and therefore still stands to work around the SC ruling. If I were a majority judge I would feel more than slightly insulted that D.C. was doing everthing it could to ignore me.

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    Even a tortured reading of Heller and a twisted interpretation of handgun cannot reach a conclusion that such a ban does not ban an entire class of firearms in common use. This is a blatant thumbing of their collective noses at SCOTUS and the constitution. Every official touting this needs to be impeached or fired as appropriate.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    xd.40 wrote:
    "I think an individual possessing a handgun that can fire 18 rounds — that is loaded and can fire 18 rounds semiautomatically — is a problem for public safety in the District," Mendelson said. "I don't know what the correct number is, but something less (than 18 shots)."


    Now there's an Expert on Firearms, writing Firearm Laws, into place for you.





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    What gets me is, they have a ban on weapons they are having allegedproblems with. So the ban ain't working is it? How does the city break the law by ignoring the constitution and supreme court. Where is all the out cry by lawyers? Why doesn't the FBI or Feds go to city hall and enforce the law? But they'll do Waco and Ruby stunts for less. I don't care if they agree with it. The law is the law. Thankfully the 2nd is a law they can't touch or change. They need to get a grip and stop trying to weasel around it. It's there to stay.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    Even a tortured reading of Heller and a twisted interpretation of handgun cannot reach a conclusion that such a ban does not ban an entire class of firearms in common use. This is a blatant thumbing of their collective noses at SCOTUS and the constitution. Every official touting this needs to be impeached or fired as appropriate.
    Or better yet hanged for treason.

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    I wish Gura could keep his mouth shut. Every time he refutes one of the antis' points he affirms two others. He should not repeat the stereotypes and misconceptions when refuting them--people will quote the reiteration, not the rebuttal. And he really needs to STOP ACKNOWLEDGING THE NFA!!! It needs to be tossed out just like DC's laws, but he's doing NOTHING to help us. What a classic example of a half friend half enemy. Can someone please gag him before he does more damage!?

    By the way, was there any posting of the city council's reaction to the OCDO presentation/testimony? The video clip only shows about 5 seconds of response and no discussion. Sure we know what our side said, but what about them?

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    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    1. In D.C., are the police issued semi-automatics or revolvers? If they are issued semi-automatics, why did the agency decide to issue them innaccurate, unreliable, impossible to manage pieces of technology that is above the headsof any operator?

    2. What do police use them for?

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    Felid`Maximus wrote:
    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    2. What do police use them for?
    You probably don't want to know. Back in the late '80s and early '90s, the liberal "New Republic" frequently ran articles detailing the criminal nature of many of the members of the DCPD. I remember an NPR story back then about a CONVICTED MURDERER who was going to sue to become a DC cop. Apparently he had a juvenile murder conviction and thought that this shouldn't bar him from being a cop. I think he claimed that they shouldn't even KNOW about it or be able to consider it.
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    BillMCyrus wrote:
    I wish Gura could keep his mouth shut. Every time he refutes one of the antis' points he affirms two others. He should not repeat the stereotypes and misconceptions when refuting them--people will quote the reiteration, not the rebuttal. And he really needs to STOP ACKNOWLEDGING THE NFA!!! It needs to be tossed out just like DC's laws, but he's doing NOTHING to help us. What a classic example of a half friend half enemy. Can someone please gag him before he does more damage!?
    Yup... God help us when he brings a suit to SCOTUS about DC's ban on the bearing of arms...

    Justice: So, now, Mr. Gura, won't people be scared if they see people carrying guns?
    Gura: Oh, no, there's no need to worry about that. It would still be illegal to openly carry or print. Everyone can just conceal their guns so no one gets scared. That's reasonable. It's not the Wild West anymore.
    J: And won't these people need licenses? Surely the guns will just go off if unlicensed individuals conceal them.
    G: Of course! In fact, training classes can be made mandatory, as well as mental health screenings and a thorough background check. It's not like we're going to let just anyone carry a gun.
    J: Fair enough. But aren't there special places where people shouldn't be allowed to carry? I don't want anyone trying to take a gun on a plane!
    G: Oh, of course! We would be more than willing to give up carrying in airports, restaurants, within 5 miles of schools and colleges, and in any other public place. No one needs to carry a gun there, anyway.



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    I got my Ruger GP100 .357 and Ruger Super Redhawk .44 ready to go.

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    Just as I predicted, the Heller ruling will not make D.C. any less unpleasant for liberty lovers. D.C. will continue to have America's worst gun laws, even with Chicago and some of its suburbs continuing to ban handguns.

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    asforme wrote:
    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    Well, I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't play one on tv, but I would think a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted directly on the non moving barrel would be more accurate than a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted on a slide that holds the barrel loosely enough to allow it to slide back and forth.

    Personally I'm not sniping with my pistol and my Glock does the job just fine.
    Revolvers are more accurate/reliable? Wonder if they saw this article:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378142,00.html

    POTTER VALLEY, Calif.— A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.

    The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.

    But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

    Authorities did not release the shooting victims' names.

    The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.

    Edit: Formatting (again)

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    xd.40 wrote:
    asforme wrote:
    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    Well, I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't play one on tv, but I would think a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted directly on the non moving barrel would be more accurate than a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted on a slide that holds the barrel loosely enough to allow it to slide back and forth.

    Personally I'm not sniping with my pistol and my Glock does the job just fine.
    Revolvers are more accurate/reliable? Wonder if they saw this article:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378142,00.html

    POTTER VALLEY, Calif.— A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.

    The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.

    But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

    Authorities did not release the shooting victims' names.

    The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.

    Edit: Formatting (again)
    Well, while that's hilarious because she was trying to shoot a mouse, IN HER HOME, with a .44 magnum, we don't want to prove that revolvers are dangerous, because they're not when handled properly. We want to show that autos and revolvers are BOTH good.

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    SQLtables wrote:
    xd.40 wrote:
    asforme wrote:
    DopaVash wrote:
    Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.
    Wat?
    Well, I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't play one on tv, but I would think a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted directly on the non moving barrel would be more accurate than a gun where the front and rear sight are mounted on a slide that holds the barrel loosely enough to allow it to slide back and forth.

    Personally I'm not sniping with my pistol and my Glock does the job just fine.
    Revolvers are more accurate/reliable? Wonder if they saw this article:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378142,00.html

    POTTER VALLEY, Calif.— A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.

    The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.

    But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

    Authorities did not release the shooting victims' names.

    The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.

    Edit: Formatting (again)
    Well, while that's hilarious because she was trying to shoot a mouse, IN HER HOME, with a .44 magnum, we don't want to prove that revolvers are dangerous, because they're not when handled properly. We want to show that autos and revolvers are BOTH good.
    As I remember it the DoD did a bunch of throw it on the ground and make sure it doesn't discharge tests on both the Sig 226 and the Baretta 92F. Probably these would be the pistols of choice for shooting mice in your trailer if you're likely to drop the weapon. Just remember to keep some keys on your belt loop and put on a shirt for when the EMT's come. Or maybe just buy a cat.


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    Liko81 wrote:
    xd.40 wrote:
    According to Parsons, D.C. code already has an allowance for some semiautomatic handguns — pistols with a magazine holding fewer than 12 live rounds were grandfathered under the now-overturned 1976 ban.

    "They are falsely claiming that all semiautomatic handguns are banned," Parsons said. She said the NRA will wait until the city sets its new rules to decide how to respond.

    The District interprets its prohibition to encompass all semiautomatic handguns. Alan Gura, one of the lawyers who represented D.C. residents seeking gun rights
    in District of Columbia v. Heller, said one line of D.C. code basically renders semiautomatic handguns as a machine gun, which would still be illegal.

    Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."
    Show me a semiautomatic handgun that cannot accept an extended magazine holding more than 12 rounds (other than the C96 Mauser; when was the last time that was a popularCC weapon?)and I will listen to whatMs. Parsons has to say. However, any Glock, Ruger, M&P/Sigma/S&W,XD, Sig, and Taurus can accept any length magazine made for it, and thelawdoes not consider whetherhigher-cap magsthat fit the gun exist (becauseif the design accepts mags of any length it is "designed" to take them), only whetherthe gunwould be illegalif they did, and duh, yes it would.

    This is quite simply an attempt to use a law that was not at issue and therefore still stands to work around the SC ruling. If I were a majority judge I would feel more than slightly insulted that D.C. was doing everthing it could to ignore me.
    I have such a gun. It is a POS .25 but cannot accept an extended mag because the mag release is at the bottom of the grip.

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    BillMCyrus wrote:
    I wish Gura could keep his mouth shut. Every time he refutes one of the antis' points he affirms two others. He should not repeat the stereotypes and misconceptions when refuting them--people will quote the reiteration, not the rebuttal. And he really needs to STOP ACKNOWLEDGING THE NFA!!! It needs to be tossed out just like DC's laws, but he's doing NOTHING to help us. What a classic example of a half friend half enemy. Can someone please gag him before he does more damage!?

    By the way, was there any posting of the city council's reaction to the OCDO presentation/testimony? The video clip only shows about 5 seconds of response and no discussion. Sure we know what our side said, but what about them?
    I think Gura acquited himself pretty well at the Supreme Court. Civil rights have to be won one step at a time. Can you imagine where Gura would have gotten had he attached the NFA instead of the handgun ban in the home. It would have been Miller all over again only the case would never have been won at the DC Circuit. It's handguns in the home for self defense, then semi-autos, then right to carry. Once we win all those, then someone might have a slight chance to take on the NFA.

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