Articles Tagged with DC gun laws

The District of Columbia has notoriously strict gun laws. However, a series of court cases in the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have, to some extent, made obtaining a concealed carry permit feasible. As discussed in previous posts, several important cases have chipped away at the District’s prohibition of the possession of, registration, and carrying of firearms in the city.

The purpose of this post is not to be a treatise on these cases but its important to note the general holdings in these cases. In 2008, the Supreme Court, in Heller, held that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution applied to the District of Columbia and stated possessing a firearm at home for self-defense was a constitutional right. In reaction to that decision, the City Council passed cumbersome regulatory laws that permitted individuals to register a firearm to possess at home for the purpose of self-defense. Simultaneously, the City Council barred anyone from carrying a pistol outside their home or place of business.

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The District of Columbia has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.  While federal courts have on several occasions struck down D.C. gun laws, the city still maintains some of the most restrictive policies for gun owners.The District of Columbia has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.  While federal courts have on several occasions struck down D.C. gun laws, the city still maintains some of the most restrictive policies for gun owners.

The first step in lawfully possessing a firearm in the District of Columbia is registering it with the Metropolitan Police Department.  This must be done at MPD headquarters located at:

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This is the final part of a three part series on DC gun laws.  In the first part, I discussed the current state of DC gun laws and how its important to challenge current gun charges on the basis of the law’s unconstitutionality.  The second part discussed the process for attempting to withdraw a guilty plea on a gun conviction under the District’s old law and weighed the pros and cons of trying to withdraw a guilty plea.  This final part discusses the class action lawsuit filed by Scrofano Law PC and the Law Office of William Claiborne.

In Smith et al v. District of Columbia, we argue that after Palmer was decided, the District government should not have continued to prosecute gun offenses.  We argue that the government’s prosecution of unconstitutional gun laws violated plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights.  In addition, we argue that the seizure of guns violated the plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment rights.  As previously discussed, a typical scenario that occurs in the District of Columbia is a law abiding out of state resident visiting the District who is unaware of the District’s draconian gun laws gets pulled over for a minor traffic violation.  That person tells the law enforcement officer that she has a gun in the vehicle—as one is typically trained to do in gun safety courses.  Then, the officer arrests that person and charges them with a felony gun crime.

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u-s-supreme-court-1-1221080The first part of this three part series discussed the current state of the District of Columbia’s gun laws. The second part will discuss the process involved in attempting to withdraw a guilty plea in DC Superior Court and the pros and cons of attempting to get your plea withdrawn.

Ordinarily, moving to withdraw a guilty plea is a very difficult process. Many defense attorneys refer to the process for withdrawing a guilty plea as “pulling teeth.” However, given the negative consequences associated with having a criminal conviction on your record, and the current successful challenges to the District’s gun laws, it may be worth it to go through the process.

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