Court ruling keeps D.C. handgun free for 90 more days
Yesterday, a federal judge granted a 90-day stay on a ruling which overturned D.C.’s ban on handguns in public. The next 90 days will hopefully give District officials the time they need to decide whether to pursue an appeal of the decision or bear down and prepare for legal possession of handguns on the capital’s streets.
This stay was granted in response to a lawsuit which began in the wake of the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that strengthened the Second Amendment by interpreting it as a guarantee of a person’s right to own a gun for self-defense. The 5-4 decision also specifically addressed D.C.’s blanket handgun ban, deeming it unconstitutional.
“We hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense,” Justice Antonin Scalia (COL ’57) wrote in his opinion.
After that ruling, the District allowed guns in homes or private businesses, but a lawsuit that began in 2009 challenged the public ban. On Saturday, that lawsuit ended with a ruling that handguns would be allowed in public.
The 90-day stay on that decision, however, buys lawmakers and police some time to decide what to do and ensure clarity about the law.
D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, chairman of the public safety committee, said that any rewriting of the new law will likely be able to restrict public possession of handguns to certain areas of the District. Wells is pessimistic about D.C.’s ability to keep the total ban, according to the Post.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson remarked on the importance of the 90-day stay to work out more details concerning the new law.
“Can they carry during special events? Can they carry during presidential motorcades? . . . There’s a lot to be worked out, and this gives us time to work it out,” he said, according to the Post.
Photo: FMJ Shooter via Flickr