WASHINGTON - January 16 - U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled Wednesday that the longstanding ban on the sale and possession of handguns in Washington, D.C. is constitutional. The suit, brought by the National Rifle Association, challenged the constitutionality of the handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds. In the ruling, Judge Walton dismissed the suit, noting that, The Court must conclude that the Second Amendment doesnt confer an individual right to possess firearms. Rather, the Amendments objective is to ensure the vitality of state militias.
This decision is being hailed as a victory for D.C. residents, a victory for the fight to ban handguns in America, and, truly, a victory for all Americans, argues Chris McGrath, executive director of Handgun-Free America. In a city with such a large gun violence problem, the last thing that is needed is to introduce thousands more handguns onto the streets and into communities.
The NRA is pushing a high-profile legal and legislative campaign in a callous attempt to force residents of the nations capitol to overturn the locally-enacted handgun ban. The D.C. handgun ban was passed in 1976 and has maintained significant support ever since, McGrath notes.
In addition to the legal challenges brought by the NRA that were dismissed yesterday, the NRA is also leading the charge in Congress by backing legislation to overturn the Districts handgun ban. S. 1414/H.R. 3193, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), is a vicious attempt to impose flawed policies onto the citizens of Washington, D.C.
Why go to court when you can go to congress? McGrath asks. After failing to convince a court that the D.C. handgun ban should be overturned, the NRA has decided to use its money and influence in Congress to force residents of D.C. to allow handguns to flood into the city.
City residents and public officials overwhelmingly support the handgun ban. In a recent letter to Sen. Hatch, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and City Council Chair Linda Cropp stated, As elected leaders of this city, we take sharp exception to both the substance of the proposal and the inappropriate intrusion into what is viewed all across the country as a local matter. On behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, we are incensed over the prospect of such a law and respectfully ask that you withdraw it.
Handgun-Free America is currently working with a coalition of D.C.-based businesses, organizations and residents to stop efforts by the national gun lobby to overturn the locally enacted handgun ban. More information about the coalition and the D.C. handgun ban can be found at www.handgunfreedc.org.