District of Columbia v. Heller, unconstitutional under the Second Amendment
Dick Heller

Plaintiff in Supreme Court Handgun Case Sues D.C. Again

July 29, 2008 03:18 PM
by Anne Szustek

Last month the high court struck down D.C.’s handgun ban, and the District rewrote its gun laws. Plaintiff Dick Heller says the new laws do not go far enough to allow gun ownership.

30-Second Summary

Federal guard Dick Heller and two other plaintiffs are filing a suit against the District of Columbia contesting its ban on semiautomatic handguns.

In front of cameras, Dick Heller attempted to register his semiauto Colt pistol—and was rejected on the grounds that it could “shoot more than 12 rounds without reloading” and was thus classified by the city as a machine gun.

The lawsuit says, “The District’s ban on semiautomatic handguns amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of arms that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for the lawful purpose of self defense in the home.” The suit also argues that the District’s fee to register a gun is “arbitrary” and largely prevents handguns in the home.

The nation’s capital fully prohibited possession of firearms until recently. But in the case of D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of the security guard, marking the high court’s first decisive ruling on the scope of the Second Amendment since it was penned in 1791.

The District’s City Council then passed a stopgap measure on July 15 allowing residents to register rifles, revolvers and shotguns. But it bars legal ownership of semiautomatic weapons, which, blog Arms and the Law writes, constitute the bulk of most handguns sold today.

Heller, who lives in Washington, D.C., carried a gun on the job but was not allowed to register his gun for home use. This prompted him to protested three gun control laws in the district, along with a group of other plaintiffs. The Supreme Court first heard arguments on the case in March regarding whether the right to bear arms applies to all individuals or is contingent on membership in a state-run militia.

Headline Link: ‘Lawsuit Filed against D.C. Gun Laws’

Video: ‘Dick Heller: Losing the War?’

Background: District of Columbia v. Heller; temporary D.C. gun law

Opinion & Analysis: How far will the new law go?

Reference: Web Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, Heller ruling, Bill of Rights


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