Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling in the NRA-supported case of Heller v. District of Columbia (Heller III), bringing further relief to the beleaguered law-abiding gun owners of the nation’s capital. While the court did not totally invalidate D.C.’s onerous registration regime, today’s ruling is an important step in bringing gun ownership within reach to more of D.C.’s upstanding residents.
“Today’s ruling is a substantive win for the Second Amendment and the residents of our nation’s capital,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “For too long, the D.C. government has violated the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. The city has among the most restrictive gun laws in the nation; and yet one of the highest crime rates. This opinion makes it a little easier for lawful D.C. residents to own firearms for self-defense.”
The decision struck four provisions of D.C. firearms law:
- The court overturned the limitation on registration of one handgun per month. The court stated that any benefits would not “justify restricting an individual’s undoubted constitutional right to keep arms in his or her home, whether for self-defense or hunting or just collecting, because, taken to its logical conclusion, that reasoning would justify a total ban on firearms kept in the home.”
- The court struck down the three-year re-registration requirement. That requirement imposed a never-ending burden on gun owners in the District, and created a risk that if there was an inadvertent failure to re-register -- a particular risk for the elderly and infirm, those who didn’t receive or understand the notice, or those who were overseas -- the owner could be prosecuted for possessing an unregistered firearm.
- The court invalidated the requirement that the registrant physically bring the firearm to police headquarters to register it.
- The court recognized that this provided no public safety benefit whatsoever, while creating a risk to the registrant and others. The court struck down the requirement that applicants pass a test on D.C. gun laws, citing the lack of any public safety benefit.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.