- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

Legal analysts and advocates from both sides of the gun debate say the court’s decision to overturn the District’s handgun ban will have little impact nationwide, regardless of the outcome of a possible Supreme Court battle.

While other cities such as New York and Chicago have stringent gun-control measures, only Washington and San Francisco have passed laws completely banning gun ownership and sales.

“The fallout beyond Washington wouldn’t be that great,” said Matt Bennett, spokesman for Americans for Gun Safety, a group that supports some gun restrictions.

“The court was clear in stating that most other gun laws would be appropriate,” he said. “In those cities you’d be going from an outright ban to a pretty high bar for getting licenses.”

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is considering whether to appeal a court ruling, upheld Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals, that said the city’s 30-year-old handgun ban violated aspects of the Second Amendment protecting an individual’s right to bear arms.

“My sense is they’re going to appeal this,” said Roger Pilon, vice president of legal affairs for the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank that opposes Second Amendment restrictions. “If they sincerely believe what they say, they have a responsibility to their community to go forward.”

Mr. Pilon said most states have statutory protections of private gun ownership in place and will not be affected by the ruling on the District’s ban. In addition, 40 states have laws protecting “conceal and carry” policies.

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the group is preparing for a Supreme Court case.

“We’re on record of challenging gun bans wherever we can legally,” Mr. Arulanandam said, citing both the organization’s role in challenging the District’s handgun ban and what he called the “preliminary stages” of a similar effort in San Francisco.

In 2005, voters in San Francisco approved “Proposition H,” a ban on the ownership or sale of handguns in the city, by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin. The NRA challenged the ban the day after the vote, and last year in June, Superior Court Judge James Warren struck down the ban before it could take effect.

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