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Judge issues 90-day stay in D.C. gun rights ruling

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier scrambled Sunday to issue guidelines for dealing with a federal court ruling, and now everything is on hold, as the judge has granted a 90-day stay.
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The same federal judge who handed down an opinion that the District of Columbia’s ban on carrying firearms outside the home is unconstitutional today issued a 90-day stay on his opinion, allowing the city time to either file an appeal or to craft an ordinance that enables people to carry in the nation’s capital, the Washington Times is reporting.

Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which brought the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia almost five years ago, was not surprised by the stay. He recalled that the City of Chicago had been granted a 180-day stay to comply with a different SAF victory over that city. In this case, SAF had not objected to a 90-day request, while the District had sought 180 days.

An immediate e-mail alert from the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) advised members, “Effective immediately DO NOT CARRY IN D.C. The Court has given Washington, DC a 90-day stay on the ruling that nullifies DC’s “no carry of handguns” law. DC will now be hustling to come up with some kind of carry law. Based on the tyrannical government there, you can bet it will be as restrictive as they can possibly make it. After all, why would they want to make DC safer for its citizens?”

The Washington Times noted that more than 3,000 guns had been registered with the city over the past six years. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s handgun ban in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case.

After U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Scullin ruled against the city, for a very brief period of about 48 hours, it was legal for residents to carry guns without a permit, so long as the guns were registered with the police. For non-residents, it was even less burdensome, as police had been instructed to find out whether non-residents were carrying firearms they could legally have in their home states.

Under guidelines outlined in a memo issued by Police Chief Cathy Lanier, police were instructed to run the name of a person they encountered, and if “no criminal record is apparent,” officers would record “any relevant information for potential further investigation” and then the person would be “free to leave.”

Examiner reached out to the District Police to learn if there had been any noticeable carry activity, but the agency did not immediately respond.

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