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Heller v. District of Columbia (“Heller III”): Amicus Brief in Support of Washington, D.C. Firearm Registration Laws

Case Information: Heller  v. District of Columbia (“Heller III”), No. 14-7071 (D.C. Cir., Amicus Brief Filed Dec. 12, 2014)

At Issue: This case was brought in the aftermath of the landmark Heller decision in which the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban. After Heller, the D.C. Council enacted the Firearms Registration Amendment Act (FRA), which amended what remained of the District’s gun laws in order to create a new and constitutionally compliant scheme for regulating firearms. Plaintiffs challenged every aspect of D.C.’s comprehensive firearms registration program. The court found that the challenged laws, which require residents to register all firearms with local authorities, were sufficiently related to the District’s goals of ensuring public safety and protecting District police. The court brushed aside the argument that the registration system was invalid because it would be circumvented by criminals and emphasized that “[a]lthough the various registration requirements at issue will not prevent all criminals from obtaining firearms, it surely will prevent some from doing so. That is enough.” The decision has been appealed to the D.C. Circuit.

The Law Center’s Brief: The Law Center joined onto a brief with a wide variety of other gun violence prevention groups, including the Brady Center and the Violence Policy Center, arguing that the District’s registration requirements are completely compatible with the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court’s Heller decision and subsequent case law. These requirements do not place any burden on self-defense and ample evidence exists to demonstrate their role in reducing gun violence and protecting public safety.

 Read the full text of our amicus brief here.