Wednesday, March 5, 2008

D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles said lawyers for the city filed their final brief with the Supreme Court in the city’s effort to overturn a lower court ruling tossing out the District’s 30-year-old ban on handguns.

Mr. Nickels said at a news conference this morning that he was confident in the District’s chances of winning the case and called the city’s brief “the gold standard.”

Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard March 18.

Attorneys for the District will argue that the Constitution protects only the gun rights of militias and that the Second Amendment restricts Congress from disarming state militias and does not prevent states from enacting firearms regulations.

They will also argue the District’s gun laws do not infringe on the right to own guns in part because the Constitution permits “reasonable restrictions” on firearms.

The case arose when the District in September appealed a March 2007 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that found restricting residents from keeping guns in their homes was unconstitutional.

The Circuit Court’s ruling overturned a decision in U.S. District Court against six D.C. residents who in 2003 sued the city to keep handguns in their home for protection.

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