Appeals court upholds D.C. assault weapons ban

By Reuters
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 11:43 EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An appeals court on Tuesday upheld a District of Columbia law that bans semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines in Washington, finding that the restrictions were constitutional.

The ruling upheld a lower court decision that found the ban did not implicate the core rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment that permits individuals to possess firearms.

The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the city’s ban.

“The District has carried its burden of showing a substantial relationship between the prohibition of both semi-automatic rifles and magazines holding more than ten rounds and the objectives of protecting police officers and controlling crime,” said the majority opinion.

It was written by Judge Douglas Ginsburg and he was joined by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson. Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, saying he would have struck down the weapons ban as unconstitutional.

The two judges who upheld the ban also backed some registration requirements under D.C. law but sent some back to the district court for further proceedings.

The Supreme Court in 2008 issued a landmark ruling that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals and allows them to use guns for lawful purposes such as self-defense in the home.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that gun rights applied not just to federal laws, but to state and city laws as well.

Photo: Flickr/Steve Fleischer

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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