Constitutional Rights And State Lines: Selling Handguns to Non-Residents

Constitutional Rights And State Lines: Selling Handguns to Non-Residents

Recently, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed suit in U.S. District Court in Virginia challenging the constitutionality of federal and Virginia provisions that bar handgun sales to non-residents.

As an SAF press release explained, “SAF is joined in the lawsuit by Michelle Lane, a District of Columbia resident who cannot legally purchase handguns because there are no retail firearms dealers inside the District.

The Supreme Court's 2008 Heller ruling struck down the District's handgun ban, confirming that individuals have a constitutional right to possess handguns.”

Yet, as a resident of the District, she can’t legally purchase a handgun in neighboring Virginia.  SAF and Lane are represented by attorney Alan Gura of Gura & Possessky, PLLC, who won both the Heller ruling and last year's Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago.

“Americans don't check their constitutional rights at the state line,” said Gura. “And since Michelle Lane is legally entitled to possess firearms, forcing her to seek a non-existing D.C. dealer to buy a handgun is pointless when perfectly legitimate options exist minutes across the Potomac River.”

“This is an important issue in the era of the national instant background check,” added SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The NICS check should allow law-abiding citizens like Miss Lane to exercise their Second Amendment rights regardless their place of residence.”

SOURCE:  SAF, handgun case, SAF 5/10/11

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  1. Yes! I’ve been waiting a long time for this to be contested. We live and work in California currently, and our gun laws are very restrictive (and many of them are fairly stupid). [For those who don’t know, CA does not participate in NICS.] While I’m all for states rights, it’s not so hot when you live in a state (or DC) that is restricting your federal rights. This is the perfect case to bring. Having a right that you can not exercise means you don’t have the right. Thank you very much for letting us know about this lawsuit.


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