Gun Control Laws: Washington D.C. Ban Ruled Unconstitutional, Handgun Carry Gun Rights Restored

Gun control laws in Washington D.C. related to the open carry of handguns have been ruled unconstitutional by a judge and gun rights have been restored in the near term.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the civil rights movement is now pushing issues like gun control ever since the George Zimmerman trial ended in a not guilty verdict for killing Trayvon Martin. The controversy has focused on the Stand Your Ground law, which some say allows convicted felons in Florida to use firearms in order to defend themselves, although the actual legal technicalities are more complicated.

The gun control ruling by Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. was made public late Saturday evening and it orders the city of Washington D.C. to end the prohibition of against carrying a handgun in public. In his 19 page ruling, Scullin wrote:

"There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional."

The ruling over the Washington D.C. gun control laws was made in reference to the long term case PALMER et al v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al, which has been working its way through the courts for five years.

The gun ban in Washington D.C. is supposed to be immediately suspended and residents and non-residents alike are allowed to carry pistols outside of their homes. This decision followed an amendment passed by the House of Representatives that effectively had Washington D.C. gun rights restored because it took away money allocated to enforcing gun control laws in the District of Columbia. The bill also applied to fingerprint requirements and registration processing for gun owners. It's possible the city could appeal the ruling, but in the short term police officers are not supposed to enforce the previous gun control laws "unless and until" the city adopted a constitutionally valid gun licensing mechanism.

Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie had previously claimed the House fought for gun rights in Washington D.C. because of the high crime rates:

"There is only one year after D.C.'s handgun ban went into effect in 1977 where its murder rate was as low as it was prior to the ban. D.C.'s murder rate rose dramatically relative to other cities, with its murder rate ranking either number 1 or 2 among the 50 most populous U.S. cities for half the time that the ban was in effect and in the top for two-thirds of the time. However, as soon as the ban and, more importantly, the gunlock regulations were struck down in 2008 the murder rate fell, dropping by 50 percent over the next four years. Indeed, every place in the world that has banned guns has seen an increase in murder rates."

What do you think about the gun control laws in Washington D.C. being ruled as unconstitutional? Do you think President Obama may respond with an executive order?