WashPost Buries Lede on DC Gun Ban Story

In the March 11 Washington Post, staff writers Elissa Silverman and Allison Klein took a look at the men and women behind a legal challenge to the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. But in doing so, it seems they buried the lede.Information on one plaintiff came near the end of Silverman and Klein's 25-paragraph story:

Dick Heller, 65, said he became involved in the firearms debate in 1997 after he read a news story about a burglary in the District in which the homeowner shot the intruder -- and the homeowner was charged with a crime."That's what made us really livid," said Heller, who lives with his wife in Capitol Hill. "After that, I knew we had to be proactive."

That's the heart and soul of the case right there. The ban criminalizes law-abiding citizens who have a natural right to protect themselves, yet find that right severely undercut by District law which takes away a significant means of self defense: private ownership of a firearm.But how crucial is Heller to the case? Without him, the case might well have been thrown out already:

Heller's decision to join the lawsuit proved fortuitous for the pro-gun contingent. The appeals court ruled that he was the only plaintiff with legal standing because he attempted to register a handgun in the District and was turned away.When the suit was filed in 2003, Heller worked as a special police officer providing security at a federal court building near Union Station. He said he found it insulting that he could not bring his gun home.
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.