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Washington DC city council passes handgun ban amendment

[JURIST] The Washington DC City Council on Tuesday passed emergency temporary legislation [PDF text; press release] to amend the city's long-standing ban on handguns. The amendment is intended to bring the city ordinance more in line with the recent US Supreme Court decision [JURIST report] in District of Columbia v. Heller [Duke Law backgrounder], which found that the ban violated the Second Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. The new rule requires residents to pass a background check, an eye exam, and a ballistics test before being allowed to register a gun. It also restricts ownership to guns that carry less than 12 rounds of ammunition and mandates that guns either have trigger locks or be stored unloaded and unassembled. The new rule will expire in 90 days, after which the council is scheduled to discuss more permanent gun legislation. AP has more. The Washington Post has local coverage.

The Supreme Court ruling was the first that directly addressed the Second Amendment since 1939's US v. Miller [case materials]. In September 2007, Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and DC Attorney General Linda Singer [official profiles] formally appealed a March 2007 federal court ruling which invalidated the District of Columbia's handgun ban [JURIST reports]. The decision affirms the March DC Circuit holding [opinion, PDF] that the city's 30-year-old ban on private possession of handguns was unconstitutionally broad.

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