- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - An attorney who successfully challenged the District of Columbia’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home said Thursday that the centerpiece of new gun legislation passed by the D.C. Council is unconstitutional and that a judge should keep it from going into effect.

The legislation approved in September says people can only get a permit to carry a gun outside their home or business if they demonstrate a specific reason for needing one. But attorney Alan Gura says that the Constitution requires the city to allow people to carry a gun for self-defense, without any more specific reason.

Gura says a judge should act to make clear the requirement isn’t acceptable and keep it from being enforced.

Gura wrote in a court filing Thursday that when U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin found the District’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home unconstitutional earlier this year, he barred the city from enforcing its law until it put in place a constitutionally acceptable system for people to get permits to carry guns. Gura wrote that the city failed to enact such a system and the judge should make clear that his injunction stands to bar enforcement.

Though Scullin issued his ruling in July, it has yet to take effect because he stayed it until Oct. 22 to allow lawmakers time to respond with new legislation. The legislation the council passed is still awaiting the mayor’s signature, which it is expected to get.

Other states where residents must show a reason to get a permit to carry a gun in public are Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

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Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

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