- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said city officials on Monday will file a legal challenge to a federal appeals court decision that struck down the District’s 30-year-old gun ban.

“There’s enough illegal guns in the District of Columbia,” Mr. Fenty said during a press conference yesterday at the John A. Wilson Building. “We don’t need to add to those guns with legal guns, which would then become illegal as they move from one person to one person to the next, until someone is killed with them.”

On March 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a previous lower-court decision against six city residents who filed suit to keep guns for self-protection.

The panel ruled in a 2-1 decision that the right to bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not only to militias.

The ruling overturned portions of D.C. law that prohibit residents from keeping firearms in their homes and require owners of registered guns, including shotguns, to store them with trigger locks or keep them disassembled.

Mr. Fenty said the city would be filing a petition to have the full court rehear the case and that he is confident the District will win on the appeal.

“We believe we’ll be able to have the whole circuit court review this case,” he said.

The District’s gun laws, which are among the nation’s strictest, will remain in place through the appeals process.

Chris W. Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the District’s appeal was expected.

“This action was anticipated all along,” Mr. Cox said. “Mayor Fenty seems determined to do whatever he can to deny the lawful residents of the District the constitutionally protected right to defend yourself or your family in your own home.”

Mr. Fenty’s announcement was made during a press conference announcing a program to place anti-gun violence posters on Metro buses across the city.

The posters — most of which will feature a hand forming a peace sign with the words “guns aside” — are part of an awareness campaign to reduce gun violence spearheaded by the nonprofit Root Inc.

Each bus placard costs roughly $800 and was paid for by the health care provider Amerigroup and the D.C. Department of Health. They will be placed on roughly 20 Metro buses.

Organizers of the campaign said there had been 40 homicides in the District this year as of Tuesday and that the number of robberies committed with a handgun had so far increased by 8 percent compared with last year.

Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who also attended the press conference, tied efforts to decrease gun violence with the fight to overturn the court decision.

“We face not only a situation where we’ve got to keep guns off the streets, but now we’ve got to fight Congress and the courts from opening up the floodgates,” Mr. Graham said.


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