Federal judge overturns D.C. ban on handguns in public

Prior to this decision, any person in the District of Columbia was prohibited from carrying a handgun in public, a measure slightly less restrictive than the former ban of all handgun ownership.
By Aileen Graef  |  July 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- A federal judge declared in a ruling Saturday that the ban on the public carrying of handguns in Washington D.C. is unconstitutional, and police may no longer enforce the restriction.

"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," said Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. in a 19-page ruling.

The D.C. attorney general's office is seeking to stay the ruling as the city plans on whether it wants to pursue an appeal of the decision. Alan Gura, the lawyer for the four plaintiffs and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation, said the victory in court will lead to a decrease in crimes.

"I believe the city is absolutely safer. Make no mistake about it. This is a fantastic improvement in public safety," Gura told the Washington Post. "Yes, we have a problem in America with gun violence. But no, that problem is not the result of law-abiding people carrying guns."

D.C. Metropolitan police chief Cathy L. Lanier ordered all officers Sunday to not arrest any registered gun owners for carrying a handgun or pistol unless they are an unregistered District resident or a visitor with a criminal background.

Lanier has said previously in congressional testimony that the city is, "filled with 'sensitive places.' Our laws should reflect that reality."

The attorney general for the city said that the protecting government officials and infrastructure is more challenging in the District than other cities, as he defended the ban.

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