2 verdicts: 1 good and 1 bad call

US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Ft. Worth Division, has ruled that the federal Gun Control Act of 1968’s ban on the interstate sales of handguns by federal firearms dealers to buyers from other states violates the Second and Fifth amendments to the US Constitution. He also distinguished the ban from other firearms restrictions such as those that target specific people, such as felons or the mentally ill, and said that while the government demonstrated a compelling interest in preventing handgun crime, it failed to show how the transfer ban alleviates the problem of prohibited people acquiring handguns by crossing state lines. Significantly, the judge applied strict scrutiny in formulating his ruling.

The case, Mance v. Holder, was brought by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear arms, represented by Alan Gura, and three individuals, and was financially supported by CCRKBA’s sister organization, the Second Amendment Foundation.

The federal law prohibits a dealer from transferring a handgun, but not a rifle or shotgun, to an individual who does not live in the state in which the dealer’s business is located.

The government is expected to appeal to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Accordingly, the Court DECLARES that 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3), 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(3), and 27 C.F.R. § 478.99(a) are UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing these provisions.”

“…the Court concludes that Defendants have not shown that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of achieving the Government’s goals under current law. The federal interstate handgun transfer ban is therefore unconstitutional on its face.

…The Court further finds, in the alternative, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional when applied to the facts of this case.”

More details here.

The NRA-affiliated New York State Rifle and Pistol Association sued New York City in 2013, arguing that laws limiting certain licensed handgun owners to carrying their unloaded weapons directly to or from their homes and shooting ranges infringed on their Second Amendment rights.

Senior US District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Robert Sweet, has ruled against the NYSRPA, saying “These regulations are reasonable and result from the substantial government interest in public safety,” and called the restrictions “a minimal, or at most, modest burden” on Second Amendment rights.

But the Second Amendment doesn’t say the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except for reasonable regulations and modest burdens.


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