Washington D.C. Ammunition Ban Violates Second Amendment

November 8, 2010

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has  declared D.C.’s ammunition possession ban unconstitutional in the case of  Herrington v. District of Columbia.

The statute reads as follows:

D.C. Code § 7-2506.01 subsection (a):
“No person shall possess ammunition in the District of Columbia unless:(1) He is a licensed dealer pursuant to subchapter IV of this unit;(2) He is an officer, agent, or employee of the District of Columbia or the United States of America, on duty and acting within the scope of his duties when possessing such ammunition;(3) He is the holder of the valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same gauge or caliber as the ammunition he possesses; except,that no such person shall possess restricted pistol bullets; or(4) He holds an ammunition collector’s certificate on September 24,1976.”

The Court based its ruling on the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” See a prior post that discusses this case.

The Court of Appeals acknowledged that the Second Amendment right is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose…but it does encompass a right to keep ordinary handguns in the home for use in self-defense.” The court therefore reasoned that although neither Heller nor the subsequent Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago specifically addressed ammunition, “it logically follows that the right to keep and bear arms extends to the possession of handgun ammunition in the home; for if such possession could be banned (and not simply regulated), that would make it “impossible for citizens to use [their handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.”

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