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Next Challenge to Gun Laws Headed to D.C. Circuit

A federal appeals court in Washington will have the chance to examine the latest version of the District of Columbia’s gun restrictions, in a possible test of how to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller.

Lawyers for Dick Heller, a name party in the earlier case, filed a notice Thursday that they will continue fighting in this follow-up case. They are appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reverse a March 26 decision by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina. That ruling upheld new restrictions the D.C. Council passed in the wake of the 2008 decision. For example, all handguns must be submitted to D.C. police for a ballistics identification process.

Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer for Heller, said a week ago that an appeal of Urbina’s decision was likely because, he said, the judge was overly deferential toward the city. Lawyers for the District say the council worked to strike a balance between Second Amendment rights and public safety concerns.

The original Heller case, then known as Parker v. D.C., also went through the D.C. Circuit. In a March 2007 decision, Senior Judge Laurence Silberman wrote that Heller had standing to challenge the District’s gun laws and that the laws in place at the time were unconstitutional. Heller, of course, won before the Supreme Court in a decision that said the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.-[source]

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