Whether residents of Washington, D.C., can carry firearms in the street has prompted examination of English law from the Middle Ages
Both sides of the national gun debate are poring over history books to try to bolster their case on whether residents of the nation’s capital can more freely carry guns on the street.
On Friday, in a possible preview of a U.S. Supreme Court showdown, a federal appeals court in Washington will hear a challenge to a law that restricts who can legally carry a handgun outside the home.
Lawyers who want to keep Washington, D.C., gun
rules as they are point to a law from the reign of King
Edward III of England that prohibited carrying a
‘Sword or Buckler, or other Arms for doing Mischief,’
in the streets of London. GETTY IMAGES
A key question in the case is whether such regulations have “long-standing” precedent. That has led lawyers to comb through historical documents for examples of how guns were used during the colonial era and earlier, in England during the Middle Ages.
The lawyers are taking the unusual step with the U.S. Supreme Court clearly in mind. No matter the outcome in the case on appeal, many legal experts think the high court will soon have to step in to more clearly settle whether and to what degree the Second Amendment protects the right to carry handguns outside the home—a question the justices have yet to address.
The emphasis on historical events makes sense given how “deeply the current Supreme Court considers history in some of its rulings,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an expert on gun laws.
The issue of guns, and limits on their use, is under fresh scrutiny in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) this week reiterated their support for a bill, introduced in February, that would grant the U.S. attorney general the authority to ban gun sales to anyone suspected of terrorism-related activities.
The National Rifle Association and many lawmakers oppose the legislation, partly on grounds that it sweeps too broadly. “Pretty much anyone can end up on a terrorist watch list,” said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker.Read the rest of the story HERE and folow a link to an updated story below:
Appeals court hears arguments in DC gun law case
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