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Judge Strikes Down D.C. Ban On Handguns Outside Home

The ruling effectively stops law enforcement from enforcing laws that prohibit carrying handguns outside of the home.
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The ruling effectively stops law enforcement from enforcing laws that prohibit carrying handguns outside of the home.

A federal judge has ruled that the District of Columbia's ban on carrying handguns outside the home is unconstitutional.

In a 19-page ruling made public Saturday, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin concluded that the Second Amendment gives people the right to carry a gun outside their home for self-defense.

“There is no longer any basis 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,” said Scullin in the ruling.

The lawsuit challenging the city's ban was filed in 2009 by three District of Columbia residents, a New Hampshire resident and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation.

“I think that people have the right to defend themselves in their home but also on the street,” said Tom Palmer, one of the three plaintiffs, in an interview last year with WAMU 88.5. Palmer said that he has been assaulted on the street while in D.C.

The group's lawyer, Alan Gura, said he was pleased with the decision. The city has the option to appeal the ruling.

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