In what may be a game changer, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the law that prevents federal firearms licensees or gun shop dealers from selling handguns directly to residents of another state is unconstitutional “on its face.”
Represented by The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms the plaintiffs in the case, a Texas gun dealer and two District of Columbia residents argued that it violated their Second Amendment rights, among other Constitutionally protected-rights, to have to transfer the handgun to another FFL in Washington, D.C, before the two law-abiding residents would be permitted to possess the handgun. In short, the judge agreed.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, wrote, “(T)he Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.”
The judge went on to add, “By failing to provide specific information to demonstrate the reasonable fit between this ban and illegal sales and lack of notice in light of the Brady Act amendments to the 1968 Gun Control Act, the ban is not substantially related to address safety concerns. Thus, even under intermediate scrutiny, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”
Alan Gura, the attorney for the plaintiffs, commented on the nonsensical nature of the law.
“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” Gura observed.
“Americans would never tolerate a ban on the interstate sale of books or contraceptives,” he continued. “And Americans are free to buy rifles and shotguns outside their state of residence, so long as the dealers respect the laws of the buyer’s home state. We’re gratified that the Court agreed that handguns should be treated no differently.”
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb echoed those thoughts, “Our lawsuit strikes at the heart of a debate that has been ongoing for several years, since the creation of the National Instant Check System (NICS). With the advent of the NICS system, it makes no sense to perpetuate a ban on interstate transfers of handguns.”
Whether the Justice Department or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will attempt to appeal the decision is not yet clear. If they do (they probably will), it will reach the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, then perhaps on to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, a big congratulations to the CCRKBA and the plaintiffs in the case!