Divided Federal Appeals Panel Upholds D.C. Gun Regulations


A federal appeals court panel has upheld Washington, D.C.'s authority to impose a system of handgun registration and rejected a challenge to the city’s ban on semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips, reports the Washington Post. The 2-1-decision leaves in place the gun-ownership regulations passed by the D.C. Council after a 2008 Supreme Court ruling ended the city's decades-old handgun ban.

Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Douglas H. Ginsburg largely affirmed a ruling by a district court judge in a lawsuit against the city by four plaintiffs. Judge Brett Kavanaugh said in dissent that the city's firearms rules violate the U.S. Constitution. Although the majority opinion sided with the city on the issues of assault rifles and ammunition clips and ruled that the District can require handgun registration, the judges did not back every provision of the registration law. For example, gun registrants are required to submit their firearms to police for test firing so ballistics records can be kept. They also must agree to be photographed and fingerprinted by police, pass vision and gun-knowledge tests and undergo periodic background checks to maintain their registrations. The panel ordered the lower court to determine whether those provisions are necessary for public safety.

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