A federal judge on Thursday upheld the District’s tough gun registration laws, finding that regulations crafted in response to a landmark Supreme Court decision “pass constitutional scrutiny.”
“The people of this city, acting through their elected representatives, have sought to combat gun violence and promote public safety. The court finds that they have done so in a constitutionally permissible manner,” U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote in an opinion likely to be appealed by gun-rights advocates.
In 2008, the Supreme Court used a D.C. case brought by the same plaintiff to declare that the Second Amendment guarantees a person’s right to own a firearm for self-defense.
The lawsuit, one of many throughout the country that have challenged gun restrictions, took on the District’s post-2008 regulations that banned large-capacity magazines and assault weapons. The city also imposed stringent registration requirements for handguns and long guns.
The ban on specific firearms was upheld on appeal, but District officials were ordered to justify their registration requirements.
The city’s gun registry, run by the D.C. police department, prohibits residents from registering more than one gun a month.
Owners must appear in person at police headquarters to be photographed and fingerprinted; complete firearms training; and pass a test.
The registration expires after three years.
Boasberg said Thursday that he was persuaded that the city’s system allows the District to “screen out dangerous or irresponsible people who try to obtain a firearm.”
“Asking gun owners to take a short class and pass a minor test — once — in order to wield deadly weapons fits the District’s interests in public safety and police protection,” he wrote in the 62-page opinion.