Second Amendment proponents had reason to celebrate this weekend when two federal courts scored huge victories for gun owners.
Washington, DC residents may carry handguns outside home
A federal court left no wiggle room whatsoever for District of Columbia lawmakers Saturday when it struck down as unconstitutional the city’s outright ban on residents carrying handguns outside their residences.
“There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Federal District Judge Frederick Scullin ruled in his 19-page opinion. “Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”
He continued that the court therefore “enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of [D.C. firearms laws] unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Plaintiffs and their counsel were ecstatic.
“We won,” Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News. “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.
He added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going,” anticipating an appeal.
“I am gratified that after a long wait our right to protect ourselves and our families has been vindicated,” George Lyon, a D.C. resident, registered gun owner, and co-plaintiff told Fox. He added that the city fathers should “swiftly enact a concealed carry law that protects the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves.”
Syndicated talk radio host and frequent Fox News contributor Dana Loesch tweeted:
Excellent news. Handgun ban struck down in DC! http://t.co/pnLA7QmWW6
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 26, 2014
And Misfit Politics’ Brandon Morse added:
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) July 26, 2014
Florida ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ ruling overturned
In another affirmation of Second Amendment rights, the federal appellate court sitting in Atlanta found a Florida statute prohibiting physicians from asking patients about gun ownership to be constitutional.
The decision, coming from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, reverses a federal district court opinion that claimed the Florida law was unconstitutional as a violation of a physician’s freedom of speech rights, according to an Associated Press report via WBTW News 13.
The AP went on to report:
The 2011 law, which had become popularly known as “Docs vs. Glocks,” was challenged by organizations representing 11,000 state health providers, including the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians
Doctors who break the law could potentially be fined and lose their licenses.
By a 2-1 decision, the appeals court upheld the law as a protection of patient privacy rights and said that the limits imposed by it were “incidental.”
“The act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care,” Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat stated in the 161-page opinion.
U.S. Circuit Judge Charles Wilson was the decision’s lone dissenter and claimed the law to be an infringement of First Amendment rights.
“The act prohibits or significantly chills doctors from expressing their views and providing information to patients about one topic, and one topic only, firearms,” Wilson wrote. “Regardless of whether we agreed with the message conveyed by doctors to patients about firearms, I think it is perfectly clear that doctors have a First Amendment right to convey that message.”
The Washington DC News tweeted the decision, and got several replies:
— MolonLabeJax (@MolonLabeJax) July 26, 2014
— Robert Parten (@rparten) July 26, 2014