Parker v. D.C. Updateby Doug Mataconis
Parker v. District of Columbia, the case in which a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the District of Columbia’s gun ban, is headed a hearing before the entire D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Lawyers for the District filed a petition this morning asking a federal appeals court to revisit last month’s decision by a panel of judges that the city’s gun law is unconstitutional.
After a three-judge panel ruled that the city’s restrictions on gun ownership violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and other city leaders vowed to fight the decision. Today Fenty was at the federal courthouse when city lawyers filed the petition.
The mayor said that after all the work that has gone into bringing crime down, the city cannot afford to accept a ruling that would increase the number of guns in the city.
“More guns quite simply leads to more violence,” Fenty told reporters outside the courthouse. He was flanked by Attorney General Linda Singer, Council members Phil Mendelson (D-at large) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.
For decades the District has had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, prohibiting private citizens from owning handguns and limiting ownership and use of rifles and shotguns.
The restrictions have drawn the ire of libertarians, gun enthusiasts and others, and this is not the first time the laws have come under fire.
The District could have appealed directly to the Supreme Court, bypassing a possible review by the full, or en banc, court and the case may yet appear before the nation’s highest tribunal.
But Singer said the city’s interests would be served by allowing the full appeals court to hear the case. “We want to give them a chance to look at this first,” Singer said at the briefing outside the court house.
With one of the court’s 11 seats vacant, the case would be heard by 10 judges on the court and by Silberman. As a senior judge Silberman would not ordinarily sit for en banc reviews but would in this case because he was a member of the panel that issued the decision.
Singer said she expected the court would decide this spring whether to grant the city’s petition for en banc review, and that if it did, the case would likely be argued in the fall.
The Court of Appeals could, of course, decline not to hear the en banc review but that seems unlikely.