[JURIST] US Federal Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. [official profile] on Saturday ruled that the District of Columbia law prohibiting the carrying of pistols in public is unconstitutional. It is reported [Washinton Post report] that Judge Scullin issued an order addressed to the city and police department to end the ban on firearms. However, it has been undetermined if actual notice of the ruling has been received by D.C. officials and officers. Alan Gura, the attorney for the group trying to end the ban, stated that the order "is now a decision that the city is required to follow—the idea that the city can prohibit absolutely the exercise of a constitutional right for all people at all times, that was struck down." However, there is still speculation as to what effect the order will have in the interim before the appeal process. The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia [official website] plans to begin the process of appealing the ruling.
The debate over gun concealment and carry rights [JURIST feature] is a hot button topic in the United States. Last year Kansas enacted [NYT report] a law to allow people with concealed firearms to bring their weapons into public buildings. In March 2014 Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed [JURIST report] HB 1048 [legislative materials] into law, allowing adults to carry a concealed weapon locked in vehicles on school property. In October California Governor Jerry Brown signed [JURIST report] 11 out of 17 gun control bills that reached his office. Also in October, a federal judge rejected [JURIST report] constitutional challenges against a new Maryland firearm law that limits certain assault weapons, and requires safety training and fingerprinting for potential buyers. Last August Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] a gun safety bill that requires background checks for all gun purchases in the state as well as the reporting of all lost and stolen guns.