When Guns are Outlawed…

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Q: I would like to keep a handgun in my home for self-defense, but a City ordinance provides that no person shall possess any firearm unless he is the holder of a valid registration certificate.  The Code then prohibits registration of most handguns.

I feel that the handgun ban has left me vulnerable to criminals.  I am told that our city’s handgun murder rate has actually increased since the ban was enacted and that we now face one of the highest murder rates in the country.

A: The law is generally that a right to keep firearms for private self-defense is so fundamental that the Constitution’s guarantee of due process includes it, so as to warrant federal protection from state regulation.

In theory, one could argue that, unlike the Constitution’s rights of free speech, free press, assembly and petition – a right of private self-defense does not comprise a necessary part of the democratic process.  Similarly, unlike the Constitution’s religious protections, its protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, its insistence upon fair criminal procedure, and its protection against cruel and unusual punishments – a right of private self-defense does not significantly protect individuals from mistreatment at the hands of a majority.

But the courts do not accept this argument, and a state law that seeks to prohibit registration of most handguns is highly susceptible to a constitutional challenge.  The solution for a city might lie in having some registration requirements, but making them less severe.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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