Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Court Declares District of Columbia’s Ban on Bearing Arms Unconstitutional

Monday, July 28, 2014

Court Declares District of Columbia’s Ban on Bearing Arms Unconstitutional

The nation's capital, long infamous for its strict gun control, is now one step closer to being forced to comply with the Second Amendment. On Saturday, July 26, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Palmer v. District of Columbia, which challenged D.C.'s ban on carrying firearms in public for self-defense. The court's decision prohibits D.C. officials from enforcing certain provisions of local law that interfere with the constitutional right to bear arms outside the home.

D.C.’s former ban on handguns, of course, resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which in 2008 recognized an individual right under the Second Amendment to possess firearms for self-defense. Two years later, the Supreme Court made clear in McDonald v. Chicago that the right recognized in Heller protects individuals from infringement by all levels of government, including federal, state, and local.  

Heller and McDonald, however, only challenged the regulations at issue to the extent they applied to keeping firearms in the home. The Supreme Court did not offer explicit guidance on the degree to which the right to "bear" arms applied to carrying firearms in public places for defensive purposes, because that issue was not squarely before it in those cases. Nevertheless, its characterization of the Second Amendment made judicial recognition of the right to bear arms outside the home all but inevitable.

In recent years, federal appellate courts have yielded to the obvious and recognized that the right to bear arms indeed extends beyond one's front door. Notable decisions have included the NRA-backed cases of Shepard v. Madigan, which arose out of an Illinois ban on carrying in public, and Peruta v. San Diego County, which concerned a local regulation that made California's discretionary licensing system for carry an effective prohibition. These precedents featured prominently in the Palmer court's relatively short, straightforward opinion in that case.   

According to the court's opinion in Palmer, "In light of Heller, McDonald and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny."

Predictably, D.C. officials and other gun control advocates have reacted negatively to the decision and have engaged in the same sort of overheated rhetoric about the supposedly "special" dangers of firearms being present in the District as they did during the Heller case. Of course, none of their dire predictions have come to pass as a result of the Heller decision. As with Heller, nothing in the court's decision on Saturday prevents the enforcement of laws pertaining to the criminal misuse of firearms. In both cases, the challenged restrictions made no attempt to distinguish between people who wanted firearms for legitimate versus criminal purposes. Thus, the decisions benefit only those peaceable individuals who conform their behavior to the law, not violent criminals who ignore the law and exploit the law-abiding tendencies of others to further their own criminal activities.

At this time, much remains unclear about the practical effects of the decision, particularly as regards those who are not D.C. residents with D.C. registered firearms. Besides the provisions that were specifically at issue in the case, D.C. has additional regulations governing the possession of firearms, ammunition, and magazines that apparently remain unaffected and that could easily snare unwary visitors to the District. 

For a brief period of time, the MPD, acting on the advice of the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, had suspended enforcement of the laws enjoined by the court’s opinion. Pictures emerged of individuals who took advantage of this opportunity to exercise their right publicly to carry firearms in D.C.

By Monday, however, District officials had petitioned the court to withhold the effect of its decision pending appeal, or in the alternative, for 180 days to allow the D.C. Council to enact new regulations to comply with the opinion. The plaintiffs agreed to a more limited delay of 90 days, and on Tuesday the court issued an order staying the effect of its decision for 90 days to allow D.C. to revisit its laws and to allow the plaintiffs to file arguments against a longer stay pending appeal. The court’s Tuesday order effectively reinstates the status quo that existed before its Saturday ruling, meaning that D.C.’s laws against carrying firearms in public can continue to be enforced.

Whether the District will seek further review of the court's decision remains to be seen. District officials have 30 days in which to appeal the case.  We will provide further updates as more information becomes available.

TRENDING NOW

Monday, June 23, 2014

ALERT: Governor Rick Scott Makes History Signing 5 Pro-gun Bills

On, Friday, June 20, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed 5 pro-gun bills into law.  A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Governor Rick Scott has now signed more pro-gun bills into law -- in ...

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

News  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

The word “Outback” used to conjure images of Australia’s tenacious frontier spirit; of hunters, ranchers, and other adventurers who carved out a harsh existence from an unforgiving land.

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled For Vote

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled For Vote

On February 15th, the Oregon state House of Representatives will hold a vote on House Bill 4145, which would significantly expand the class of persons who could be stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In ...

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

News  

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would have resulted in some 75,000 law-abiding beneficiaries losing their Second Amendment rights each year. 

What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know: Enactment of National Reciprocity is Closer than Ever!

News  

Friday, February 2, 2018

What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know: Enactment of National Reciprocity is Closer than Ever!

Anybody who is exposed to the so-called news media these days faces a barrage of bewildering and often outlandish claims. “Breaking news” cycles through the public eye with such frequency and speed that knowing what’s ...

NRA Endorses Screnock for State Supreme Court

Second Amendment  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NRA Endorses Screnock for State Supreme Court

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse Judge Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

Gun Laws  

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Citizen's Guide To Federal Firearms Laws - Summary

A Citizen`s Guide to Federal Firearms Laws A summary of federal restrictions on the purchase, sale, possession, and transportation of firearms and ammunition. Caution: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation.

News  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mental Health and Firearms

Since 1966, the National Rifle Association has urged the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence. As we noted then, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society ...

NRA Endorses Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate

News  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

NRA Endorses Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate

Fairfax, Va.— On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) today endorsed Marco Rubio for the office of U.S. Senate in the Florida Republican primary.

Media Smears the Disabled, Misinforms on Social Security Gun Ban

News  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Media Smears the Disabled, Misinforms on Social Security Gun Ban

Last week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch issued an editorial titled, “Time to license guns - for journalists,” which cited an embarrassing string of journalistic blunders to illustrate the media’s dearth of firearms knowledge. The piece concluded, ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.