District Seeks to Revive Gun Ban

The District of Columbia has filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking review of a federal appeals court decision striking down the District’s ban on handguns in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held last year in Parker v. District of Columbia that the ban violates the Second Amendment. The court held that Dick Anthony Heller, a federal judicial police officer, could challenge the District’s ban, which barred him from possessing a gun at home for self-defense, even though he lives in a high-crime neighborhood and carries a gun at work.

I explained earlier why this ruling was correct, and did not involve judicial activism.

Ironically, another appeals court in the very same city, the D.C. Court of Appeals, continues to say that the gun ban is just fine, having upheld it in Sandidge v. United States (1987). That ruling is directly contrary to the D.C. Circuit‘s ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia. I discuss this conflict among courts, and its consequences for District of Columbia residents (and people being prosecuted) here.

Engaging in the legal hairsplitting that is second nature to lawyers, the court held that five other citizens, like lead plaintiff Shelly Parker, lacked standing to challenge the ban, because they had not engaged in the futile formality, prior to suing, of requesting that the District government allow them to possess a gun for self-defense. (Heller made such a request, which was rejected based on the District’s gun ban, and the court held that that formality gave him standing). Heller attorney Robert A. Levy says he will file a cross-appeal seeking to challenge the court’s holding that only Heller, not the other plaintiffs like Parket, have standing to challenge the ban.