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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Federal judge upholds gun limits in DC after Supreme Court ruling
Bhargav Katikaneni at 11:50 AM ET

[JURIST] A federal judge ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that firearms regulations [text] in Washington DC, including a ban on assault weapons and a prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices [ATF backgrounder], do not violate the US Second Amendment [text]. The ruling by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina [official profile] of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] also upholds new registration rules that require a gun owner to submit fingerprints, photographs, and pay for a ballistics test. In upholding the regulations, Urbina cited the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller [JURIST report] which struck down an outright ban on handgun ownership in Washington DC nonetheless permitted the regulation of firearms. Urbina wrote:

Because the [City] Council provided ample evidence of the ways in which the registration requirements will effectuate the goal of promoting public safety, and because public safety is a quintessential matter of public regulation, the court concludes that there is at least a substantial nexus between the registration requirements and the important governmental interest underlying those requirements. As a result, the court denies the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and grants the defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment on Count One of the second amended complaint.
Urbina said the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices is constitutional because such devices "fall outside the scope of the core second amendment right." Stephen P. Halbrook [firm profile], attorney for lead plaintiff Dick Heller [Heller Foundation profile], said that an appeal [Washington Post report] is likely.

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments [JURIST report] in McDonald v. City of Chicago [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report] to determine whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to the states, and not just the District of Columbia.

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