By Tom Schoenberg – Oct 4, 2011 4:07 PM GMT+0100
Washington, D.C.’s ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines doesn’t violate the constitutional rights of residents in the U.S. capital, a federal appeals court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today also upheld registration requirements for handguns put in place after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 ended the city’s almost total ban on firearms. The three-judge panel ordered a lower court to further review other aspects of Washington’s gun control law, such as its limits on multiple purchases.
“The District has carried its burden of showing a substantial relationship between the prohibition of both semi- automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and the objectives of protecting police officers and controlling crime,” Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote in the 2-1 ruling.
The challenge to the restrictions was brought by Dick Heller, the plaintiff in the 2008 Supreme Court case, who argued that the District of Columbia’s gun laws are too burdensome. The rules are inconsistent with high court rulings, including Heller’s earlier case, he said in court papers.
Under the statute, residents who want to keep guns at home must be fingerprinted and photographed by the police, provide a work history and describe their intended use of the weapon. Firearms must be registered every three years. Guns defined by the city as assault weapons are banned.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, saying he would have thrown out the ban on assault weapons and the registration requirements.
The case is Heller v. District of Columbia, 10-07036, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit (Washington).