Former Military Brass Join Fight to Give D.C. Its Guns

A new argument in the bid to overturn the District's gun ban: Without pistols, how can people train to be in the military?

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Here's a new argument against the D.C. gun ban, now before the Supreme Court: If people can't own guns, then how are they supposed to train for the militia or military provided for in the Second Amendment? That's the new pitch from a prominent hunters group backed by several former top Army generals who today filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the bid to overturn the gun ban in the nation's capital.

The American Hunters and Shooters Association said in its amicus brief that the ban not only violates the Second Amendment's right to gun ownership but flies in the face of the amendment's provision allowing localities to form a "well regulated militia." Ray Schoenke, the association's president and a former Washington Redskins player, said, "A well-regulated militia depends on recruits who have familiarity and training with firearms." For example, he added, it violates the Home Rule Act because it challenges the congressionally mandated Civilian Marksmanship Program, which prepares citizens for more effective service in the military.

In the documents, the group signing the brief include several former military officials including former under secretary of the Army Joe Reeder, retired four-star Gen. John Tilelli, who was commander in Korea and an army vice chief, retired Lt. Gen. Tom Fields, who was chief of staff for Pacific Command and a former army chief of public affairs, and retired Maj. Gen John Meyer. The court is expected to hear arguments in the case this spring.

The brief comes as a majority of House and Senate members are filing their own brief in support of overturning the D.C. gun ban.