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Washington, D.C.: Making The Right Moves

Washington, D.C.: Making The Right Moves

In the latest action in the long-running Heller v. District of Columbia lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently issued a ruling bringing further relief to the beleaguered law-abiding gun owners of the nation’s capital. The decision struck down four provisions of D.C. firearms law:

  • The court overturned the limitation on registration of one handgun per month.
  • The court struck down the three-year re-registration requirement, which imposed a never-ending burden on gun owners in the District.
  • The court invalidated the requirement that the registrant physically bring the firearm to police headquarters to register it. 
  • The court struck down the requirement that applicants pass a test on D.C. gun laws, citing the lack of any public safety benefit.

Never in my wildest dream did I expect to be sacrificing my life—giving up my boat and airplane and other things—to continue fighting for the Second Amendment.“Today’s ruling is a substantive win for the Second Amendment and the residents of our nation’s capital,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director. “For too long, the D.C. government has violated the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. The city has among the most restrictive gun laws in the nation; and yet one of the highest crime rates. This opinion makes it a little easier for lawful D.C. residents to own firearms for self-defense.”

Dick Heller, the D.C. security guard who has been a plaintiff in this case and its historic precursor for more than 12 years, said the ruling was an important one, with some good and some bad aspects.

“We still have to be registered and fingerprinted, so the worst part is we will still be treated like criminals, but the criminals won’t be standing in line to get in,” he said. “On the positive side, the big win is you do not have to re-register your firearm every three years, and accidentally become a paper criminal by forgetting. Number two would be the one-gun-a-month restriction is now gone.”

Heller said that thought never crossed his mind back in 2003 that he might still be fighting this battle in court a dozen years later.

“As a citizen I thought it was simply you win or lose, up or down, live or die, maintain the right or have it infringed upon forever,” he said. “Never in my wildest dream did I expect to be sacrificing my life—giving up my boat and airplane and other things—to continue fighting for the Second Amendment.”