UPDATE on 90-Day Stay: D.C. Ban on Handguns Carried Outside the Home Struck Down


U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Scullin ordered a 90-day stay on his ruling that D.C.’s total ban on carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional. Scullin relied on the fact the plaintiffs in the lawsuit did not oppose the stay so that the District Council can have the time to re-write the gun law.

Of his decision, Scullin wrote, “. . . An immediate 90-day stay is appropriate to provide the city council with an opportunity to enact appropriate legislation consistent with the court’s.”

On July 28, D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan asked for a stay on the ruling until the D.C. decides on a potential appeal for the ruling or 180 days which will give the city lawmakers enough time to approve a new legislation that will regulate public gun carry within the District.

The stay will be in effect until Oct. 22 for the District Council to come up with new regulations or appeal the judge’s ruling to a higher court

Below is the original news story.

The D.C. ban on handguns carried outside the home was struck down as unconstitutional on July 26 by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. District residents are now permitted to carry legally registered pistols in public. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier sent out an instructional memo telling officers not to arrest individuals carrying legally registered handguns.

The ruling came after five-year long lawsuit, Palmer vs. District of Columbia, and was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and four licensed gun owners in the District. The legal started when three licensed gun-owners had their gun registration denied by the MPD because they intended to carry their guns in public.

The fourth plaintiff in the lawsuit is a New Hampshire resident who was charged with illegal gun carry after he was stopped for speeding. He later applied for a legal permit which would allow him to carry his handgun when he traveled through the city but had his gun licensing application rejected by the MPD.

“Congratulations, Americans, your capital is not a constitution-free zone,” wrote attorney Alan Gura, who represented the gun owners in this case, on his blog in response to the ruling. “Obviously, the carrying of handguns for self-defense can be regulated. But totally banning a right literally spelled out in the Bill of Rights isn’t going to fly.”

Ted Gest, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, which defended the city’s ban, told the Washington Times that the city is studying the opinion and its options, which would include appealing the judge’s ruling and asking the judge to stop his ruling from going into effect during any appeal made by the city.

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