In a 2-1 ruling handed down this morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down some of the District of Columbia’s handgun registration laws as unconstitutional including a regulation that limited District gun owners to one handgun registration per month, the Washington Times reported.
This ruling comes as the 30th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference is scheduled to begin one week from today in Phoenix, Arizona at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, and judging from the agenda, it’s going to be a packed program. With this morning’s ruling, there will likely be considerable discussion about what other legal actions may be on the horizon.
“Any time a Federal Appeals Court strikes down any anti-gun law it is a great victory for gun rights,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). “I think this ruling is going to really help the Second Amendment Foundation’s Wrenn v. District of Columbia case that is challenging the DC carry law requiring ‘good cause’ or ‘special need’ to get a permit that is now before the same Federal Appeals Court.”
Writing for the majority, U.S. District Judge Douglas Ginsburg suggested that a requirement that people bring their handguns to the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters might actually be contrary to public safety. He said the city had provided no “substantial evidence” that public safety benefited from making people bring a handgun to police headquarters. Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson concurred in part and dissented in part. The ruling may be read here.
“On the contrary,” Judge Ginsburg wrote, as quoted by the Washington Times, “common sense suggests that bringing firearms to the MPD would more likely be a threat to public safety.”
He suggested there was a risk of the gun being stolen, or someone being arrested or even mistakenly shot by a police officer. Whether any of these scenarios were considered when the law was written is not clear.
The ruling did uphold some of the city’s gun laws, including fingerprinting and photographing gun owners. However, the requirement to re-register firearms every three years was also struck down.
It remains to be seen how this morning’s ruling might affect other litigation challenging the District’s gun laws, now or in the future. That subject may come up during next weekend’s GRPC.
Headlined “Preserve Freedom,” the Sept. 25-27 event is co-sponsored by SAF and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. This morning, staffers at SAF’s Bellevue headquarters were preparing to ship all the essentials, including books and other materials that are given away at the event.
Something special is planned for this event. It’s an auction featuring a couple of beautiful guns from American Legacy Firearms. They are a Model 1911 pistol (pictured above) and a Model 1984 Winchester lever-action rifle. Also, Examiner has learned that C-Span will be broadcasting part of the event, on the final day of the conference.
Scheduled speakers include Gottlieb, SAF President Joe Tartaro, Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt, attorney Alan Gura (who won both the Heller and McDonald cases before the U.S. Supreme Court), and John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. In addition, representatives from several major gun rights organizations will be there, as will former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who serves on the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors.
Over the past three decades, the GRPC has convened all over the landscape. People who attend the two days of panel discussions are able to network with one another, share ideas and carry new information back home.
MEANWHILE, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is supporting next weekend’s conference, announced earlier this week that it had been awarded a two year, $2.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide firearm safety education messaging and free gun locks to communities across the map. This will be done under NSSF’s popular Project ChildSafe program.
But now the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has launched a petition effort to pressure the DOJ to rescind that grant. They are joined by the Newtown Action Alliance, a group formed following the December 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy. NSSF headquarters is in Newtown, only a couple of miles from where the school was located.
The CSGV lists some of its gripes with NSSF, while acknowledging that “few would oppose the use of gun locks to secure firearms or the dissemination of information on gun safety,” but it quickly adds, “the partnership between DOJ and NSSF is nonetheless deeply troubling.” Perhaps what is most “troubling” about this “partnership” is that it has an important government agency working in tandem with the firearms industry group to promote genuine gun safety.
NSSF has issued a response to the CSGV petition effort, and some of the claims made by the organization. That statement may be read here.
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