Judge Rules Washington D.C.’s Ban on Handguns is Unconstitutional

A Washington, D.C. ban on carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional "under any level of scrutiny," a judge ruled. (Karen Bleier / AFP-Getty Images)
A Washington, D.C. ban on carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional “under any level of scrutiny,” a judge ruled. (Karen Bleier / AFP-Getty Images)

A federal judge struck down the nation’s last complete prohibition on carrying guns outside the home, declaring the District of Columbia’s strict handgun ban unconstitutional.

The ruling by a judge in New York, announced late Saturday, is the latest blow to the decades-long gun law in the nation’s capital, which is plagued by violent crime. In a landmark decision in 2008, the Supreme Court struck down the district’s handgun ban, establishing for the first time a personal right to own a weapon under the 2nd Amendment.

Senior District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr., a former Army colonel appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush, ruled that the right to a weapon extended outside the home both for residents and visitors to Washington.

Going well beyond the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller, Scullin found that carrying arms outside the home for self-defense fell within the legal definition of the right to bear arms enunciated in the 2nd Amendment.

In the Heller case, the Supreme Court did not address whether the 2nd Amendment allowed someone to carry a weapon outside the home. The high court has repeatedly turned down invitations to decide that issue.

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SOURCE: KATHLEEN HENNESSEY
The Los Angeles Times

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