Court strikes down DC gun regs in mixed ruling

Court strikes down DC gun regs in mixed ruling
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The nation’s second most influential court handed a partial win to Dick Heller on Friday in a case challenging Washington, D.C.’s gun laws.

Heller is best known for winning a landmark Supreme Court case in 2008, in which the court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to bear arms for self-defense. 

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In a 2-1 decision Friday, a three-member panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the city’s requirements that force gun owners to register long guns, get fingerprinted, photographed and appear in person when registering a gun, pay a registration fee and complete a firearms safety and training course.

The court then struck down four requirements that force gun owners to bring the gun they’re registering with them, re-register a firearm every three years and pass a test on D.C. gun laws. The court also did away with a rule that prohibits gun owners from registering more than one pistol within a 30-day period.

“We agree with Heller that the District has not offered substantial evidence from which one could draw a reasonable conclusion that the challenged requirements will protect police officers; but we think the District has pointed to substantial evidence that some of the requirements — but not others — will promote public safety,” Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote in the opinion of the court.

While Judge Karen Henderson, who dissented from the majority, said she agrees with her colleagues’ decision to uphold the District’s long-gun registration, registration fee, in-person appearance, photographing, fingerprinting and training requirements, she said she would have upheld the other requirements as well.

“Those parts of the majority opinion display proper deference to the District in its ongoing efforts to formulate a workable firearms policy for our Nation’s capital,” she wrote in her dissenting opinion. “I believe my colleagues too readily abandon this approach, however, with respect to the knowledge test, present-the-firearm, re-registration and one-pistol-per-thirty days requirements.”