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Washington DC Gun Laws Provide Interesting Case Nationally

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By    |   Sunday, 05 Oct 2014 02:31 PM

Both sides of the gun laws debate have been watching Washington, D.C., while a federal court ruled in July that the city’s decades-long ban on handguns was unconstitutional, providing an interesting case in the ongoing national controversy.

The district’s strict gun ban has been challenged since it first took effect in the 1970s, when the D.C. Council voted to restrict city residents from acquiring handguns, with the exception of guards, police officers and those who had registered their handguns before the ban took effect.

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In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down the district’s handgun ban, allowing private gun ownership for the first time since the ban was established. But that ruling didn’t address whether the Second Amendment allowed someone to carry a gun outside of the home, and guns remained banned in public. The case was the first time the high court agreed to rule on the Second Amendment since 1939.

In July, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. ruled that banning people from carrying guns outside the home is unconstitutional, and Washington, D.C., officials began rewriting their gun laws to comply with the ruling. Meanwhile, police officers — who were used to being able to stop someone they suspected was carrying a weapon — scrambled to understand how the ruling would affect their work, The Washington Post said.

The judge put the ruling on hold for the city to rewrite its gun laws. On Sept. 23, the council approved emergency legislation allowing concealed-carry permits for residents who meet stringent requirements, including showing a compelling reason they need a permit. The emergency legislation is effective for 90 days while permanent legislation is in development.

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"This bill ensures that we will be able to meet the requirements of the Constitution while maintaining the maximum amount of safeguards possible to protect our residents, visitors, workers and public-safety officers,'' Mayor Vincent Gray said in a written statement.

D.C. officials have asked Scullin to reconsider his ruling.

The emergency legislation drew fire from opponents, including Alan Gura, an attorney for D.C. residents and workers who challenged the ban, The Washington Post reported.

“The court instructed the city to treat the carrying of handguns as a right rooted in the constitutional interest in self-defense,” Gura said, according to The Washington Post. “It’s not much progress to move from a system where licenses are not available to a system where licenses are only available if the city feels like issuing them. It’s something of a joke.”

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Both sides of the gun laws debate have been watching Washington, D.C., while a federal court ruled in July that the city's decades-long ban on handguns was unconstitutional, providing an interesting case in the ongoing national controversy.
washington dc, gun, laws, nationally
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2014-31-05
Sunday, 05 Oct 2014 02:31 PM
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