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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

D.C. Appeals Gun Ban Decision to Supreme Court

As expected, Mayor Fenty announced yesterday that the District of Columbia is appealing the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision throwing out the city's gun ban. In his announcement, made on the steps of the Police HQ, Fenty said "This city does not need more guns."

The gun ban crowd is not exactly happy with this decision as they have been quoted as saying the DC law is not the most defensible. The city outright bans handguns not registered prior to 1976 and only allows rifles and shotguns if they are unloaded and secured with a trigger locked, and stored in a different location than the ammunition - thus making them useless for self-defense.

Some in the gun rights community are equally apprehensive. There are only four sure votes that we believe can be counted on our side on the Court. The swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, could go either way. It also is not a done deal that the court will hear the case. If not, D.C. will have to scrap their law and come up with something else - likely one that bans carrying guns outside the home. In any case, most legal eagles believe the Court if it hears the case will likely make a narrow ruling with little national impact other than to settle the question of whether the 2nd Amendment protects an individual or collective right. We should know by November if the court will hear the case and if they do, expect a ruling likely the last day of the term in June - right smack in the middle of a presidential election.

You can read about the District's decision and any possible national impact by clicking here. I hope to upload a link in the next couple of days to audio of the Independence Institute's Dave Kopel discussing the issue with NRANews' Cam Edwards as heard on the Tuesday night show.

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