- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2015

The Department of Justice has asked for a 60-day stay of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down prohibitions on out-of-state handgun purchases — a decision that could make it easier for D.C. residents to acquire firearms.

Attorneys from the department’s civil division filed a motion Friday in the Mance v. Holder case, asking for the 60-day stay in order to have more time to decide whether to appeal the ruling issued Wednesday by Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The ruling takes aim at the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits direct handgun sales to out-of-state buyers. Under the law, a resident of one state who buys a handgun in another state is required to have the gun transferred to a federally licensed firearms dealer in their state of residence in order to complete the sale and take possession of the gun. Rifles and shotguns already can be purchased directly regardless of state residency.

Judge O’Conner found the federal ban on the direct sale of handguns from federal firearms dealers to out-of-state residents was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was brought against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones in 2014 by D.C. couple Tracey and Andrew Hanson and Texas gun store owner Frederic Russell Mance Jr. The Hansons tried to purchase two handguns from Mr. Mance, but declined to do so once they learned they would not be allowed to take immediate possession of the guns and instead would have to pay for them to be shipped to the District and transferred through the city’s lone federal firearms licensed dealer, Charles Sykes.

The District’s attorney general says the ruling currently has no applicability in neighboring jurisdictions of Virginia and Maryland, where D.C. residents would be most likely to purchase handguns, as there are no gun stores in the District. But the case is being closely watched in the city because of how it could stand to simplify the process of purchasing a handgun for D.C. residents.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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