The man who successfully challenged the D.C. handgun ban before the Supreme Court filed a new federal lawsuit this morning, alleging that the District's new gun-registration system is unreasonably burdensome and improperly outlaws most semiautomatic pistols. . . .
he 5-to-4 ruling concluded that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to possess guns for self-defense, but said that governments may impose reasonable restrictions. The lawsuit filed today alleges that the District's restrictions are not reasonable.
The city's handgun-registration process is limited almost entirely to revolvers because a D.C. law that bans machine guns includes a broad definition of such weapons, encompassing most semiautomatic pistols. That law has been in place for decades and was not a focus of the Supreme Court case.
The new lawsuit said that defining a semiautomatic pistol as a machine gun "is contrary to the ordinary usage of those terms in the English language and in the laws of the United States."
"As a result of the District's extraordinary definition," the complaint says, "ordinary handguns and other firearms which are semiautomatic are considered to be 'machine guns' and may not be registered. The overwhelming majority of handguns possessed in the United States are semiautomatic handguns, and the Supreme Court . . . held that handguns as a class are constitutionally protected."
Magazine-loaded semiautomatic pistols -- the kind of weapon commonly carried by police officers -- are the most popular type of handgun on the market. . . .
Ilya Somin has this piece in today's Legal Times"
The Supreme Court may have endorsed an individual right under the Second Amendment to bear arms. But the District of Columbia certainly isn’t leaping to implement that right.
After its defeat in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the D.C. Council responded by adopting new gun-control regulations that are only marginally less restrictive than the ones invalidated in Heller. Undoubtedly, the new regulations—and similar ones in other jurisdictions—will be challenged in court. It is the outcome of these future cases that will determine whether Heller has any truly significant impact.
History shows that mere judicial recognition of a right doesn’t guarantee that the right will get meaningful protection. It is especially unlikely if the right is supported by jurists on only one side of the political spectrum. Judicially recognized rights also can get short shrift if the Supreme Court defines their scope narrowly.
To the delight of some and the distress of others, both these factors may limit the impact of the newly recognized individual right to bear arms.
Thanks to Ronald Oglesby and Ilya Somin for these links.