Federal judge upholds D.C.'s gun law

WASHINGTON Thu May 15, 2014 3:57pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Thursday upheld a Washington D.C. gun law that bans assault weapons and requires owners of other firearms to follow certain registration requirements, including that they pass a test and safety course.

The law, one of many being challenged by proponents of gun rights, was written after the Supreme Court struck down D.C.'s all-out ban on handguns in 2008 on the basis that it violated the right to bear arms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.

An appeals court in 2011 upheld the new law's provisions that banned assault weapons and required handguns to be registered, but it said the city would need to provide better data on the safety implications of applying the same rules to long guns.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled on Thursday that the city had now provided ample evidence to prove the law's impact on safety.

"The people of this city, acting through their elected representatives, have sought to combat gun violence and promote public safety. The Court finds that they have done so in a constitutionally permissible manner," he wrote in the opinion.

Other requirements include that gun owners appear at the police department with the weapon he or she intends to register, be photographed and fingerprinted, and complete an extensive background check.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Comments (1)
vincewarde wrote:
This ruling is not at all surprising because:

The handgun registration requirement was upheld by the DC Court of Appeals – as was the Assault Weapons ban. The DC Court of Appeals likewise gave the District Court the opportunity to require long gun registration – and since they wanted to do that in the first place, they ruled that DC had indeed met the requirement.

The reality is that very few courts are actually applying the legal principles set forth in the Heller and McDonald rulings. If they did, then most Assault Weapons bans would be struck down since SCOTUS ruled in those decisions that firearms “in common use” may not be banned. So called “Assault Weapons” include the most popular firearms in America.

Another important reality is that SCOTUS has not ruled on the level of protection – in legal terms “scrutiny” – that must be applied to the 2nd Amendment right. Given the strong language of the Amendment, it is hard to come up with an argument that does not support strict scrutiny – the highest level of protection. Intermediate scrutiny is possible, but most of these gun bans won’t survive under this level of protection either. Though handgun registration might.

If SCOTUS applies a low level of scrutiny (below intermediate) – essentially gutting the 2nd Amendment – then there will be a backlash the like of which has never been seen in American politics. 43 states have shall issue CCW laws – a good indicator of the support of the 2nd Amendment. If the courts gut the 2nd Amendment then look for an amendment to be passed correcting it.

Actually, such an amendment might be a good thing since issues could be specifically addressed. In any case this ruling will be appealed back up to the DC Court of Appeals and possibly to SCOTUS.

May 15, 2014 6:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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