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Judge Strikes Down DC Gun Ban          07/27 10:58

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The District of Columbia's ban on carrying handguns 
outside the home is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

   In a 19-page ruling made public Saturday, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. 
Scullin concluded that the Second Amendment gives people the right to carry a 
gun outside the home for self-defense.

   The lawsuit challenging the city's ban on carrying handguns outside the home 
was filed in 2009 by three District of Columbia residents, a New Hampshire 
resident and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation. It came 
shortly after the city rewrote its gun laws following a landmark U.S. Supreme 
Court decision that struck down the city's 32-year-old ban on handguns in 2008.

   New rules allowed residents to keep guns in their homes but required that 
they be registered. Gun owners now have to take a safety class, be photographed 
and fingerprinted and re-register their weapons every three years. Those 
requirements have also been challenged in court but were upheld by a federal 
judge in May.

   In finding the city's ban on carrying handguns outside the home 
unconstitutional, Scullin cited two U.S. Supreme Court cases, including the 
2008 case that struck down the city's handgun ban and a 2010 case involving 
Chicago's handgun ban.

   Scullin, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and is a former 
Army colonel, wrote that following those decisions, "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."

   Alan Gura, the lawyer who represents the group challenging the ban, said 
Sunday he was "very pleased with the decision."

   Ted Gest, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General for the 
District of Columbia, which defended the city's ban, said the city is studying 
the opinion and its options. Those include appealing the judge's ruling but 
also asking the judge to stop his ruling from going into effect during any 
appeal.


(KA)


 
 
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