[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Friday heard oral argument in a challenge to a Federal judge’s authority to issue a ruling that struck down modifications to firearm possession laws in the District of Columbia. The attorney representing the District of Columbia argued [AP report] that Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr.’s decision to strike down the city’s ban on carrying handguns outside of one’s home was not within his judicial authority. Scullin ruled in one previous instance that the ban on carrying handguns outside the home was unconstitutional. In September the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a mixed ruling [JURIST report] on DC city gun laws, ultimately upholding six and striking down four elements of the Firearms Registration Amendment Act [text] and the Firearms Amendment Act of 2012 [text]. The laws were created in response to the 2008 Supreme Court decision [opinion, PDF] in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment [text] continue to be controversial topics across the US. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [JURIST report] in Voisine v. US [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] after having considered the case at two previous conferences this year. In October, Maine’s revised concealed carry law went into effect [JURIST report] allowing legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. In July US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ordered a review [JURIST report] of military recruitment office security policies in the wake of a shooting at a Tennessee Navy-Marine reserve center. Last December the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that a law prohibiting individuals who have been committed to a mental institution for any amount of time from possessing a firearm is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.