Big Court Win: Federal Interstate Handgun Transfer Ban Is Unconstitutional
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today won a major federal court ruling in a case involving interstate handgun transfers in which the judge applied strict scrutiny to determine whether a ban on such transfers meets constitutional muster.
The case, which was financially supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, is known as Mance v. Holder. It involves plaintiffs residing in the District of Columbia and Texas, and could have far-reaching ramifications, according to CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.
“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),” Gottlieb said. “With the advent of the NICS system, it makes no sense to perpetuate a ban on interstate transfers of handguns.”
Indeed, in his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, writes, “(T)he Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.”
The judge later added, “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. Thus, even under intermediate scrutiny, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”
CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas.
“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” Gura observed. “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.”
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