Friday, September 11, 2009

D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles filed a motion in U.S. District Court Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by four gun advocates who are seeking the right to carry their weapons outside their homes.

Mr. Nickles argues that current city gun laws, which allow licensed gun owners to keep weapons in their homes for their personal protection, fall under the category of “reasonable restrictions” permitted by the court.

The current laws were enacted after the Supreme Court struck down the District’s decades-old gun ban in its June 2008 ruling on the District v. Heller case.

“The District’s regulation of handguns at issue here is squarely in the mainstream and eminently reasonable, minimally intruding on the right announced in Heller to bear arms for the protection of ‘hearth and home,’ while at the same time safeguarding public safety under traditional police powers,” Mr. Nickles wrote.

The lawsuit, filed last month, argues that city laws banning the carrying of handguns in public violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It asks that the District issue licenses to carry guns in public to legal gun owners in the city and to people with valid carry permits from outside the city.

The nonprofit Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation is named as a plaintiff for the Palmer lawsuit as well as D.C. residents Tom G. Palmer, George Lyon and Amy McVey.

Edward Raymond, a Navy veteran enrolled in law school in New Hampshire, is listed as a plaintiff in the Palmer lawsuit. In April 2007, Mr. Raymond, who is not a D.C. resident, was stopped for speeding in the District while he was transporting a gun for which he had permits in Maryland and Florida. He was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unregistered gun and unregistered ammunition charges.

The District refused to grant Mr. Raymond a license to transport his gun through the city.

Alan Gura, who argued the Heller case, is the plaintiff’s attorney. Mr. Gura said that because his client, who lives outside the District, cannot obtain a license to transport his firearm when he travels through city limits, the law stifles his Second Amendment rights.

“We’re going to be responding to this obviously in a few days,” he said. “It’s quite wrong, the city seems to think it’s not down with the Second Amendment, and they’ll find out they’re wrong.”

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