Court overturns DC handgun law

A federal judge has overturned a Washington, D.C., law preventing people from carrying handguns in public.

Judge Frederick Scullin concluded that current prohibitions are an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, in a win for gun rights advocates. 


Based on previous court rulings striking down gun laws in D.C., Chicago and elsewhere, “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,” Scullin wrote in his 19-page decision, which was unsealed on Saturday. 

“Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”

The case against D.C., which is the only jurisdiction to ban people from carrying handguns in public, was brought by several people who tried to obtain permits for carrying a weapon but were denied.

Scullin’s ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia will prevent police from enforcing the law, at least for the time being.

“Congratulations Americans, your capital is not a constitution-free zone,” Second Amendment Foundation lawyer Alan Gura, who argued the case, wrote in a blog post

The ruling comes six years after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision overruling D.C.’s total prohibition on owning a handgun, which the high court determined violated the Second Amendment. That decision determined that the Constitution allowed all people, not just society in general, to own a gun.