Concluding a years-long lawsuit, US Judge Royce C. Lamberth gave preliminary approval to a settlement agreement due to Washington DC’s mishandling of six different gun owners, all of whom were arrested between 2012 and 2014 on gun–related charges.
According to a report from the Washington Post, Lamberth had previously ruled in 2021 that DC arrested, jailed, prosecuted, and seized guns from six people “based on an unconstitutional set of laws” and violated their Second Amendment rights.
One of the examples cited in that same Washington Post report on the settlement details a Maryland resident who was commuting home from his job in Virginia with a gun locked in a safe in the trunk of his car. He was jailed for two nights on gun charges and lost his job as a result.
Oh? An anti-gun city is using taxpayer dollars to pay their fines for blatant anti-gun policies?👀
Talk about taxation without representation.💸 https://t.co/QsoiMxVLBc
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) August 30, 2023
Washington, DC, will now have to pay out 5.1 million dollars due to the lawsuit. With $300,000 each to the six plaintiffs and $1.9 million in attorney fees, the leftover $1.4 million will be set aside for a large number of people who are estimated to qualify for the class action suit.
DC’s gun laws have been the subject of multiple high-profile lawsuits. In 2008 the landmark gun rights case District of Colombia v. Heller (a GOA-backed case) affirmed that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, and no government could impose a ban on firearms within the home, as Washington DC had done prior to Dick Heller filing suit.
Then, in 2014, Palmer v. District of Colombia struck down DC’s ban on carrying handguns in public with a permit.
Finally, in 2017, Wrenn v. District of Colombia (another GOA case) struck down the district’s “good and substantial reason” clause in its permitting process. Fearing an outcome that could make a concealed carry permit easier to acquire nationwide, DC did not appeal Wrenn to the Supreme Court. Gun rights advocates would have to wait another five years for the landmark decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen to finally abolish anti-gun bans on concealed carry masquerading as “may-issue” permitting regimes.
So, what was the District of Colombia’s defense during the suit? Apparently, those arrested should have done their research on DC gun laws or attempted to license the firearms before passing through the district. But interestingly, the judge in the suit found that there were no actions that the plaintiffs could have taken during the time period in question that would have allowed them to legally carry a gun for self-defense in the District of Colombia.
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