Yet another legal challenge
Just in: an email from Second Amendment Foundation stating that they are challenging the ban on sales to nonresidents in the context of a DC resident who wants a handgun, but with the last dealer closing shop in DC, cannot legally obtain one. Attorney is Alan Gura. Considering the incredible number of post-Heller and post-McDonald challenges he's handling, I only wish I could find out where he gets his energy.
Could someone comment about whether this suit has a reasonable chance? If just one FFL opens up a business in DC, would it not moot the suit?
Posted by: Anonymous at May 11, 2011 08:03 AM
Why should our fundamental rights to keep and bear arms hinge around a federally regulated bureaucrat with a retail storefront? I like this suit. It'll help chip away the 1968 GCA one bit at a time.
Posted by: Scott at May 11, 2011 08:19 AM
Complements this suit:
Both address the ban on being able to purchase firearms in a state in which you do not reside. Seems to me they have a good chance of succeeding. The ban places a significant burden to the right to keep and bear arms for self defense. Or as Gottlieb says “Americans don’t check their constitutional rights at the state line"
Posted by: John Jorgensen at May 11, 2011 11:54 AM
I don't know about the chances of this suit but DC is in a pickle. They have tough zoning and other restrictions on opening FFL locations and want to keep them. Given that they have fought every attempt to loosen their laws they are unlikely to give these up without a fight either.
If they don't make it easier to open gun businesses they run the risk of those restrictions being challenged under Heller as unreasonably restricting the Right for DC residents. Which could result in more FFLs doing business in the underserved DC market, which will increase the number of legal handgun owners which will eventually normalize gun possession in the District.
So they can either admit defeat and loosen up or maintain the status quo.
If they keep the status quo and Gura wins they not only lose the ability to somewhat limit handgun sales in the district (by making going to a DC dealer a pain due to location and such) but their intransigence will also have potentially hurt the larger gun control effort by putting handgun residency requirements at risk nationwide.
They haven't been that far-sighted yet, so here's hoping.
Bear in mind Gura has a suit in progress challenging the effective bar on a US citizen, who does not have a legal residence in the US, from purchasing firearms, specifically handguns, for self-defense while in the States. That runs afoul of Heller as well.
I think this is a planned multi-angle attack on state residency requirements for handgun purchases.
IIRC the reasoning given in GCA '68 for not allowing out of state handgun purchases, even through dealers, was to prevent criminals from evading local law enforcement checks in states that perform them.
With NICS that concern is mooted, states should be putting all their prohibited persons into it.
Either the .gov is forced to say NICS isn't enough for whatever reason or they have to admit that residency requirements in Federal law are now redundant and infringe on the right of citizens to purchase handguns for the defense of their home (residence) simply because they have moved that residence across state lines.
Posted by: Matthew Carberry at May 11, 2011 11:54 AM
You'd think that the purchaser could just ask Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center to act as a transfer dealer.
He's got an FFL.
Posted by: jdberger at May 11, 2011 04:30 PM
Here's to hoping that the 1968 GCA is non-severable! It probably isn't, though. As far as I can tell (I'm not willing to read the law at this moment) this law is probably put together in several separate, well-defined sections.
Posted by: Alpheus at May 13, 2011 01:44 PM