The District Court Senior Judge Scullin on July 24, 2014, enjoined the District from enforcing both the handgun registration for home-use only provision as well as the statute criminalizing carrying handgun in public. Specifically the court ordered:
ORDERS that Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees and all persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this Memorandum- Decision and Order, are permanently enjoined from enforcing D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) to ban registration of handguns to be carried in public for self-defense by law-abiding citizens; and Court further
ORDERS that Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this Memorandum- Decision and Order are permanently enjoined from enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a); and the Court further
ORDERS that Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation from them who receive actual notice of this Memorandum- Decision and Order from enforcing D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) against individuals based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District of Columbia.
D.C. Code § 7- 2502.01(a) provides that “no persons or organization in the District shall possess or control any firearm, unless the persons or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm.” D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) provides that individuals who are not retired police officers may only register a handgun “for use in self-defense within that person’s home.” Pursuant to this statutory limitation, Defendants distribute handgun registration application forms requiring applicants to “give a brief statement of your intended use of the firearm and where the firearm will be kept.”
D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) provides that “[n]o person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed.” The first violation of this section by a non-felon is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
The District Court derived to this decision by extrapolating and analyzing and ultimately expanding the decisions in:
Dist. of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010); and Peruta v. Cnty. of San Diego, 742 F.3d 1144 (9th Cir. 2014).
The Second Amendment Foundation in bringing this action challenged both the District’s total ban on carrying handguns in public and their registration requirement limiting registration to home-use, as well as the Equal Protection violation in discriminatory practice with regards to non-residents.
The District Court in adopting and expanding on Heller Court, and the strict Constitutional language, concluded that “the Second Amendment codified a pre-existing, individual right to keep and bear arms and that the “central component of the right” was self-defense.
Also that the Second Amendment bestows the right to both “keep” and “bear” arms — bear meaning to carrying–.
The Court reiterated that: “the Second Amendment secures an individual right to carry in case of confrontation means nothing if not the general right to carry a common weapon outside the home for self-defense”.
The Court ultimately concluded that carrying handgun outside of the home for lawful self defense purposes constitutes “bear”[ing] of the arms consistent with the Constitutional purpose.
Thus the Court ruled that the District’s total ban on carrying in public to be unconstitutional. The District has sought a 90 day stay of the ruling and will most likely seek appellate review although it appears the legislative amendments to the current law are at final stages. The appellate review would be an uphill battle as the pertinent Constitutional language has already been defined and applied by the Supreme Court.
For now it is best to only bear and carry a registered handgun at home until the appellate process has been exhausted and there is absolute clarity and statutory amendment to the current laws.