Federal Appeals Court Okays Fingerprinting of Gun Owners in D.C.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
(photo: Wade Spees, AP)

A federal appeals court handed gun control advocates several victories in a decision on District of Columbia gun laws, including one requiring gun owners to be fingerprinted.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled (pdf) 2-1 that the city can allow gun owners to be fingerprinted and photographed, complete a firearms safety training course and pay specified fees. The ruling also requires rifles and shotguns be registered along with handguns.


The court approved fingerprinting, along with the $35 fee charged by the city, because the judges said it can keep people from obtaining firearms by using a counterfeit driver’s license.


The justices also struck down several gun law provisions as unconstitutional. The court ruled that the city may not: prohibit owners from registering more than one pistol per month, require owners to re-register a gun every three years, or mandate that owners make a personal appearance to register a gun and pass a test about firearms laws.


Altogether, the court upheld six D.C. gun laws and struck down four.


Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA Law School, told the Associated Press the “decision leaves little doubt that gun registration is constitutionally permissible. States that want to require gun owners to register their guns will be buoyed by this decision.”


Dick Heller, the plaintiff who brought the case against D.C., is known for having won the 2008 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a split decision, that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to bear arms for self-defense.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Court Quashes Some District of Columbia Gun Laws (by Sam Hananel, Associated Press)

D.C. Gun Registration Law Ruled Partly Unconstitutional (by David Kopel, Washington Post)

Court Strikes Down DC Gun Regs In Mixed Ruling (by Lydia Wheeler, The Hill)

Dick Anthony Heller v. District of Columbia (U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia) (pdf)


Sam Adams 8 years ago
Yes, God knows it's important to know who has the guns when they suspect a revolution. Government: Please we're cleverer than that When we DO come--and they way you're going, we will---you won;t be able to stop it! SamAdams1776 III Oath keeper Molon Labe No Fort Sumters Qui tacet consentit Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges. Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, c u m pars servitutis esset

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