Residency Requirements for Handgun Purchases Deemed Unconstitutional
Well, Duh! A federal court in Texas has ruled that residency requirement for handgun purchases is unconstitutional. The ruling smacked down gun grabbing Attorney General Eric Holder‘s claim that banning handguns outside of a person’s state of residence is not a violation of the Second Amendment.
The Washington Times reports:
In the case, federally licensed firearms dealer Frederic Russell Mance Jr. of Texas and gun buyers Tracey and Andrew Hanson sued Mr. Holder and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones claiming the federal ban on the sale of handguns outside of one’s state stops the formation of a national handgun market.
The Hansons, who live in Washington, visited Mr. Mance’s Texas store in June and were unable to buy handguns because of the ban. The ban effectively “reduces competition, raises prices and limits consumer choices,” their joint lawsuit, which was filed in July, alleged.
Mr. Holder and the Department of Justice aimed to dismiss the suit, claiming the plaintiffs had no standing, and were dealt no harm. Mr. Holder also argued, the Second Amendment is “silent” as to the ability to sell or buy handguns “in any particular forum” and that courts have “repeatedly declined” to rule that right is protected.
The ruling, which overturned a ban on handgun transfers between citizens living in separate states, involved three individuals with the help of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said, “Our lawsuit strikes at the heart of a debate that has been ongoing for several years, since the creation of the National Instant Check System (NICS). With the advent of the NICS system, it makes no sense to perpetuate a ban on interstate transfers of handguns.”
Holder’s motioned, “Here, the court’s inquiry can end at step one because the challenged laws do not impose any burden, let alone a substantial burden, on conduct historically protected by the Second Amendment.”
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, disagreed with the Justice Department. In a brief filed on Wednesday, the Court stated, “Court finds that defendants’ motion to dismiss should be and is hereby denied. Defendants argue Mance has suffered no injury…As stated above, Mance was unable to consummate the sale of handguns to the Hansons… the loss of sale is clearly an injury to Mance in his own right.”
Judge Reed O’Connor stood by the plaintiffs in the case and said that the interstates ban on handgun transfers not only violate the Second Amendment, but also the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
Judge O’Connor wrote, “The Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.”
“By failing to provide specific information to demonstrate the reasonable fit between this ban and illegal sales and lack of notice in light of the Brady Act amendments to the 1968 Gun Control Act, the ban is not substantially related to address safety concerns,” Judge O’Connor added. “Thus, even under intermediate scrutiny, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”
Plaintiffs contend that, because the laws discriminate based on residence, Defendants’ enforcement of the federal interstate handgun transfer ban violates Plaintiffs’ right to equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides, in relevant part: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Supreme Court has consistently held that the Due Process Clause contains an equal protection component, which prohibits the United States from discriminating between individuals or groups.
“[E]qual protection analysis requires strict scrutiny of a legislative classification only when the classification impermissibly interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right or operates to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class.” Mass. Bd. of Ret. v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307, 312 (1976). Here, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right. The Supreme Court has also held that strict scrutiny is required where the challenged classification impinges on residency. The Supreme Court applied strict scrutiny in situations where state laws discriminated against non-residents, and those cases involved benefits offered by the state, not constitutional rights. …Based on the strict scrutiny analysis above, the Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas represented CCRKBA.
“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” said Gura. “Americans would never tolerate a ban on the interstate sale of books or contraceptives. And Americans are free to buy rifles and shotguns outside their state of residence, so long as the dealers respect the laws of the buyer’s home state. We’re gratified that the Court agreed that handguns should be treated no differently.”
Indeed, what business does the federal government have in any form of restricting or regulating of arms? They have been given zero authority in that issue by the states. Therefore, the actions of Obama’s Justice Department and the lying, criminal Eric Holder are just more indications that we are dealing with corruption at the federal level. I’m glad to see the court rule against the unconstitutional measures of this administration. Now, if we could only get some impeachment action going and some indictments, maybe the people would take back their country.