- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The D.C. Council and mayor are collaborating on an emergency bill that would regulate residents’ ability to carry legally registered guns outside their homes.

A federal court ruling in July struck down the District’s prohibitions against carrying guns in public, and the city’s attempt to draft legislation outlining parameters for legal gun carry comes as officials are deciding whether to appeal that decision.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. is on hold until Oct. 22, giving city lawmakers the chance to adopt legislation before the ruling takes effect.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and council member Tommy Wells will announce details of the gun-carry proposal Wednesday. A draft of the proposal was not available Tuesday afternoon.

The District has resisted loosening its gun laws since the 2008 Supreme Court decision that struck down the city’s near-total ban on gun ownership, with gun owners filing additional lawsuits to fight various aspects of the regulations.

Since Judge Scullin’s ruling, local lawmakers have expressed a desire to limit the carrying of firearms in the nation’s capital and have acknowledged that crafting restrictions suitable for the city could be a complicated process.


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Officials plan to introduce the proposal as emergency legislation at the D.C. Council’s Tuesday meeting, its first session back from summer recess. As emergency legislation, the council can introduce and adopt the bill on the same day and the law would take effect immediately and be valid for 90 days.

Since the Supreme Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision, residents have been able to purchase guns, but were barred from carrying them outside their homes. Under city law developed after the ruling, gun owners have to register firearms and submit to fingerprinting and training requirements. Individuals with gun-carry permits from other states are also not allowed to carry firearms in the nation’s capital.

The year after the Heller decision, four gun owners and the Second Amendment Foundation sued the city because of gun-registration requests that were denied on the grounds that the applicants sought to carry weapons in public for self-defense. Plaintiffs in the case, Palmer v. District of Columbia, waited five years for the decision, which granted that the ban was unconstitutional.

The District’s Office of the Attorney General has asked for a reconsideration of the decision that struck down the ban as well as an extension of the judge’s stay order. While the agency considers its legal options and the city moves to craft new regulations, officials have not made a firm decision as to whether they will appeal the case, attorney general spokesman Ted Gest said.

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