- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2007

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty yesterday said he is close to a decision on whether city officials will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal court ruling that would repeal the District’s 30-year-old handgun ban.

“We’re planning to make that announcement within the next week,” Mr. Fenty said yesterday. “We’re still exploring all of our options.”

The Supreme Court appeal must be filed within 90 days of May 8, the date a federal appeals panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to reconsider its earlier ruling in the case.

That gives Fenty administration officials roughly until the end of the first week in August to file the appeal.

On March 9, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to reverse a lower-court decision against six D.C. residents who sued to keep their guns for self-defense.

The ruling repealed much of the city’s ban on handguns, but the ban has remained intact through the appeals process.

Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said if the mayor does not appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court and the D.C. Council does not enact any legislation restricting the sale or use of handguns, residents can begin legally purchasing guns after the appeal period expires.

If the mayor does not appeal the ruling, the ban will expire while the council is in recess, which could delay the introduction of new legislation regulating the sale and use of handguns.

Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, made the remarks after an appearance on Capitol Hill with a handful of other big-city mayors for an initiative called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Mr. Fenty was among a dozen or so other mayors from across the country to speak out against the so-called “Tiahrt Amendment” — named for its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Kansas Republican — which restricts access to federal gun trace data.

Preliminary police statistics show that, as of yesterday, there were 619 robberies at gunpoint and 387 assaults with a gun in the District this year.

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