Defending Second Amendment Rights One Weapon at a Time


Alan Gura, Dick Heller's attorney, reports that the .22-caliber revolver his client began to register last week is the same weapon he tried to register in 2002 before suing the District of Columbia over its handgun ban. Therefore, Gura says, assuming Heller is allowed to register the revolver and keep it at home, "the city appears to be complying with the literal command of the [Supreme Court] judgment," which said "the District must permit [Heller] to register his handgun" as long as he is not "disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights" (i.e., has no criminal or psychiatric record that bars him from owning a firearm). Gura adds:

That does not mean that the rest of the D.C. Code with respect to firearms is constitutional. Much of it is not. But the entire code was not directly at issue in our case. It is our hope that Mayor Fenty and the City Council, or Congress, if the Mayor and City Council are unwilling to do so, sit down with their code books and the Supreme Court's opinion, and make a serious effort to conform the former to the latter. If the political branches do not make the city's firearm laws constitutional, then as we've seen, the courts will do it for them. 

In particular, the remaining storage requirements (which say even a gun locked in a safe must also be kept unloaded) and the "machine gun" ban (which the city used to stop Heller from registering a .45-caliber pistol with a seven-round magazine, arguing that the ban covers most semiautomatics) seem ripe for challenge. I'll have more on this in my column on Wednesday.