In response to the D.C. v. Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional District of Columbia handgun ban, D.C. has passed new guns laws. While handguns are allowed, these new laws are incredibly restrictive:
The process for lawfully owning a handgun in Washington, D.C. now involves a written exam, proof of residency, and good vision. Successful applicants must then pay a registration fee, agree to fingerprinting, and pass a criminal background check before obtaining a gun. Semi-automatic pistols continue to be (ridiculously) classified as “machine guns” and are still banned in D.C.
The district of Columbia continues to require that all firearms be kept unloaded and disassembled, or equipped with trigger locks, unless there is a “reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm” in one’s home. This requirement continues to prevent effective self defense, in one of America’s most dangerous cities.
While the new D.C. law is an improvement over the previous and unconstitutional outright ban on handgun ownership, it is not much of an improvement. Making law abiding citizens jump through such hoops and submit to being fingerprinted bears no relation to preventing crime. That is because criminals don’t buy from lawful gun dealers and then register their guns, but instead buy their guns on the black market or steal them from the police, and never register their guns. It appears that follow-up court cases may be needed before D.C. residents can fully enjoy their individual 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms.
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