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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
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En Banc Denial Keeps D.C. Gun Law Paralyzed

WASHINGTON (CN) - After striking down a requirement that D.C. gun owners re-register every three years, the D.C. Circuit refused a bid by the district to rehear the case en banc.

Dick Heller, a police officer who brought the case that led the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the district's tough handgun law, challenged the district's rewritten law, the Firearms Registration Amendment.

It banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and required anyone registering a gun to be photographed and fingerprinted, pass a background check and list a residence and place of employment for the past five years.

In September 2015, a divided three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed six of the law's provisions, but vacated four others.

The court rejected the requirement that gun owners reregister their firearm every three years, saying the district has no reason to place this burden on citizens when the law already requires gun owners to report when a weapon is lost or stolen.

And though the district does have good reason to require that gun owners pass a safety test, a test covering local gun laws lacks similar grounding, the majority ruled.

Writing for the majority, Judge Douglas Ginsberg tossed the district's attempt to limit gun owners to registering just one pistol per month.

But the majority affirmed the registration requirement for long guns, which includes fingerprinting and photographing of the gun's owner.

Judge Karen Henderson wrote in dissent that she would uphold all of the district's gun regulations.

With the D.C. Circuit voting against an en banc rehearing Friday, Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote an concurring opinion.

"It bears emphasizing the procedural posture of this case and the shortcomings in the record," she wrote.

"Given [the] omissions in the district's summary judgment record, this case simply does not present the broadside on regulatory authority to promote public safety that the en banc petition asserts," Millett added.

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