Have you ever come across someone who has gone through a round of mental gymnastics to try to justify their take on a situation or their position on an issue?
Of course you have. They flip and turn and twist words and thinking into pretzels that are just convoluted messes and only “convince” the easily confused. It’s like watching the mental equivalent of a gymnastics floor routine: It’s impressive to watch but has little to no practical use or value.
It’s frustrating, though, when an activist judge uses exactly those kinds of mental gymnastics to push their preferred agenda instead of doing their jobs, and that’s exactly what happened in a Washington, D.C. court case recently. Dean Weingarten writes,
In the case of Hanson v. District of Columbia, in the District Court of the District of Columbia, on April 20, 2023, federal Judge Rudolf Contreras issued an opinion holding standard capacity magazines which hold more than ten rounds of ammunition are not protected under the rights which the Second Amendment was written to protect. Judge Contreras acknowledges magazines that hold more than ten rounds are in common use in the United States of America. Judge Contreras acknowledges magazines that hold more than ten rounds are arms as defined by the words of the Second Amendment.
Judge Rudolf Contreras goes to great lengths to determine magazines that hold more than ten rounds are not included under the rights of the Second Amendment.
Weingarten isn’t kidding. From Judge Contreras’s opinion:
Plaintiffs seize on this observation as if it alone decides the question of whether LCMs are covered by the Second Amendment. It does not. Heller II’s comment was dicta because the Circuit ultimately assumed, without deciding, that LCMs were covered by the Second Amendment. 670 F.3d at 1261. More importantly, Heller II recognized that whether LCMs are “in common use” is merely the beginning of the analysis. The full inquiry is “whether the prohibited weapons are ‘typically possessed . . . for lawful purposes.’” Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1260 (emphasis added) (quoting Heller, 554 U.S. at 625). On that critical question, Heller II expressed uncertainty: “based upon the record as it stands, we cannot be certain whether these weapons are commonly used or are useful specifically for self-defense[.]” Id. at 1261 (emphasis added). That is the question this Court must now resolve.
The parties unsurprisingly stake divergent positions. Plaintiffs maintain that LCMs “are overwhelmingly used for lawful purposes” such as self-defense. Pls.’ Mem. of P. & A. in Reply to Opp’n to Appl. for Prelim. Inj. (“Pls.’ Reply”) at 12, ECF No. 24. The District disagrees; it argues that LCMs are not in common use for self-defense for two reasons. First, it claims that LCMs’ military characteristics make them a poor fit for self-defense and take them outside the scope of the Second Amendment. Second, the District claims that law-abiding individuals do not use LCMs for self-defense because incidents where a civilian actually expends more than ten bullets in self-defense are “vanishingly rare.” Defs.’ Opp’n at 18. The Court agrees with the District on both arguments.
That’s possibly the most delusional thing that you’ll read all week. To say that large capacity magazines (and if we’re defining anything over ten as “large capacity,” then, we need to do some research on what some can carry) are in common use but are not in common use for self–defense is simply an attempt to get around the Heller ruling by adding an extra shade of meaning that wasn’t there.
And it’s a lie, too. If it’s in common use, then, it’s in common use for self–defense, too. No one that I know of is putting a magazine of twenty into a Glock to go squirrel hunting, so, what else do they need it for? Sport, yes, but not only for sport.
This judge (who you won’t be surprised to learn is an Obama appointee) needs to go back to law school, to read the Constitution, and to read a dictionary (pre–2000). And someone who knows their head from a hole in the ground and can be honest about doing their job instead of trying to legislate from the bench needs to take over this case.