Rehearing denied in DC challenge (Seegers)
Triggerfinger reports that rehearing has been denied in Seegers. I have an interesting proposal for dealing with the standing issue that is at the heart of that (and many other gun cases).
The DC Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs lacked "standing." That's a jurisdictional requirement arising largely out of the Constitution's provisio that Federal cases must involve a "case and controversy," a real, practical, legal dispute. If a person is not being prosecuted, there are some serious limitations on whether he/she can take the offensive and sue to challenge a law (esp. when the always-special First Amendment is not involved). The standing barrier is a major threat to test cases, which is why when I taught bringing the Federal test case as part of a CLE course, I started with it, and stated it had a higher potential of killing your case than any other defense.
A thought I just had. The challenge here is to DC's refusal to issue handgun permits, and requirement that any long guns be disassembled or trigger locked. Plaintiffs are challenging because it prevents them from defending themselves.
Now... in environmental cases the Supreme Court has recognized "aesthetic standing." Sierra Club v. Morton I believe was the first case, more recently the American Cetasian or however you spell whales in a fancy mode. In the latter the harm was that the govt action allegedly might reduce whale populations, which would impair plaintiffs' enjoyment of whale watching. That string of cases establishes that emotional harm (down to possible loss of seeing something you like to see) is sufficient "harm in fact" to confer standing.
If that is the case, then is there not an argument that deprivation of a feeling of security is "harm in fact," and thus laws that cause that deprivation are actionable? The desire to feel safe from deadly assault is surely stronger than the desire to see open landscape or watch whales.
Further thought: a complication.... in the enviro cases the alleged emotional harm flows directly from the government action. In a firearms case there is an intervening event... the law causes plaintiff to obey it, which causes the distress. Courts might tend to say that that intervening cause puts you back in the box.