Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Third Time's the Charm: Federal Appeals Court Voids Provisions of D.C. Gun Control in Heller III

Friday, September 18, 2015

Third Time's the Charm: Federal Appeals Court Voids Provisions of D.C. Gun Control in Heller III

Dick Anthony Heller, the lead plaintiff in the historic 2008 Supreme Court case that invalidated D.C.’s handgun ban, has once again successfully challenged D.C.’s oppressive gun control regime. 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.

Following the Supreme Court’s rebuke in the original Heller case, an unrepentant D.C. Council immediately set out to make the lawful keeping and bearing of arms in the District as expensive, time-consuming, and difficult as possible. Intrepid reporter Emily Miller chronicled her own experience negotiating D.C.’s firearm registration process between 2011 and 2012 in a series of reports for the Washington Times that later formed the basis for a book. At the time, registration involved a 17-step process, $465 in fees (not including the price of the gun), five hours of mandatory training that had to be completed outside the District, and multiple trips to D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) headquarters during business hours.

Thanks to a combination of political advocacy, media exposé, and litigation, the hurdles and expense of D.C.’s firearm registration process have been whittled down over the years. Nevertheless, the District has consistently remained one of the most difficult places in the U.S. to acquire a firearm lawfully. The plaintiffs in Heller III challenged numerous aspects of the remaining law, including its application to long guns; the requirement for applicants to appear at police headquarters to be fingerprinted, photographed, and to submit their registration paperwork; the requirement that registrants bring their firearms into police headquarters; the expiration of the registration after three years; various fees; the mandatory training requirements; the requirement of passing a test on D.C. law; and a prohibition on the same person registering more than one handgun during any 30-day period.

District officials attempted to justify these requirements on the basis of “protecting police officers” and “promoting public safety.” Significantly, the court of appeals found that “the District has not offered substantial evidence from which one could draw a reasonable conclusion that the challenged requirements will protect police officers ….”

Citing the testimony the of one of the District’s own witnesses, the court noted that police are trained to account for the possible presence of dangerous weapons in any situation where they might encounter a crime in progress, a domestic dispute, or any other potentially violent environment. This is so, the expert acknowledged, even when responding to calls at locations without registered weapons. In any event, the evidence in the case revealed that MPD officers very rarely even bother to check the firearm registry when responding to a call, conducting an investigation, or executing a search warrant.

The court also determined that several of the challenged registration requirements did not promote public safety, including the requirement that applicants bring the firearms they wish to register to MPD headquarters; the three-year expiration and re-registration requirement; the required test of legal knowledge; and the limitation of registering one handgun per person during any 30 day period.

Accordingly, it held that all of these requirements offended the Second Amendment and are unenforceable.

The court rejected the premise that limiting the number of firearms lawfully present in a home is a valid argument for gun control, even if it could reduce the harm that could be caused by firearms generally. “Accepting that as true,” the court wrote, “it does not justify restricting an individual’s undoubted constitutional right to keep arms (plural) 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.” This may be one of the most significant aspects of the decision, as discouraging lawful gun ownership has been the cornerstone of D.C.’s approach to gun control.

While these developments will bring substantial benefits to those who wish to lawfully own guns in D.C., the court still upheld the balance of the registration procedure. If history is any guide, moreover, the District may seek further review of the court’s decision, or it may simply enact other impediments to firearm ownership, which will require further court testing at taxpayer expense. Thus, while pro-gun advocates should cheer the court’s ruling, it also merely underscores the ongoing necessity of the D.C. Second Amendment Enforcement Act, which would comprehensively reform D.C.’s gun control laws and prohibit future abuses by the D.C. Council.

TRENDING NOW
Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

Guinness World Records may refuse to acknowledge feats pertaining to the lawful exercise of right to keep and bear arms, but how about a world record for most shameless attempt to politicize tragedy? The competition would ...

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

A while back, we wrote about an inane NBC Today Show segment that recommended homeowners rely on car keys and wasp spray to defend themselves against burglars and other home invaders. A former New York ...

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

It appears that those gun rights supporters hoping that the leaders of the Democratic Party would engage in a moment of self-reflection following their historic defeat in the 2016 election may be left wanting. Despite ...

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Recently the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms sent out a notice to California firearms dealers with information regarding the recently passed “assault weapon” legislation, SB880 and AB 1135.

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

With the election of Donald Trump in early November, many mainstream news sources predicted a substantial downturn in gun sales. Some even claimed that Trump’s victory would cause slower sales on Black Friday, which is ...

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

Legacy media corporations like the New York Times and Washington Post have big problems right now. Consumption of their product is dropping. Public confidence in them has tanked. And in front of the nation and the world, they blew ...

New Jersey:  Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Jersey: Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Shooting ranges as we know them may be a thing of the past if anti-gun politicians have their way in the Garden State.  A pair of dangerous bills are scheduled in the Assembly Law & ...

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

News  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

In what will hopefully be one of the final acts of the Obama Administration on firearms, the ATF on Monday announced that its proposed changes to the Form 4473 would go into effect on January ...

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Senate Bill 206, legislation which would legalize the possession and use of suppressors in Illinois was not brought up for consideration today.  However, this important pro-gun bill could be brought up for consideration at any time and your ...

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

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.