Another victory for the Second Amendment in the nation’s capital.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week ruled parts of D.C.’s gun registration law unconstitutional. The government required gun owners to re-register their guns every three years at the police station. People who wanted to register a handgun had to pass a test about the law, and residents couldn’t registered more than one handgun a month.
No go, said the court. Such requirements violate the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. An excerpt of the The Volokh Conspiracy blog on the Washington Post‘s site:
In evaluating the constitutionality of D.C.’s firearms laws, the court applied “intermediate scrutiny.” The test asks whether a law “promotes a substantial governmental interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation,” and whether “the means chosen are not substantially broader than necessary to achieve that interest.”
The laws that were ruled unconstitutional failed because they did not advance a government interest “in a direct and material way.” The “direct and material” requirement comes from Supreme Court precedent such as Turner Broadcasting v. FCC (1994).
A group of citizens challenged D.C.’s ban on handguns that had been in effect since 1976. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the ban was unconstitutional. The Second Amendment “protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home,” the court noted. The city council continued to restrict this right with laws like the ones just ruled unconstitutional and by requiring owners to provide a “good reason” for carrying concealed. “Because Second Amendment” apparently doesn’t count.
Gun restrictions impose on the law-abiding, not the criminals. High rates of gun violence do not justify depriving citizens of their constitutional rights.
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