Thursday, November 12, 2009

D.C. Court of Appeals Applies Heller Retroactively

The defendant, Frederick Plummer, was charged and convicted of possession of an unlicensed handgun from an incident in October, 2003. He filed an appeal in 2004, claiming his Second Amendment rights had been violated. That was denied. Now, after Heller, he comes forward again.

DC: Defendant never even applied for a [nonexistent] permit, therefore he has no standing.
Court: The Defendant's conviction gives him standing.

The license required is also prohibited:

In light of the handgun registration and licensing scheme in effect at the time of the incident in this case, Mr. Plummer could not have registered his handgun, but registration was a prerequisite to obtaining a license, despite the Second Amendment right to keep a handgun in his home for defensive purposes.

The court seems reluctant to allow D.C. to keep people in jail for a "paperwork felony" resulting from D.C.'s "too-clever-by-half" gun registration scheme: require registration, prohibit any new licenses, restrict renewals to previous licensees only, require annual renewals, and pretty soon there will be a defacto handgun ban in D.C.

So the court sent Plummer's case back to the lower court to see if he could pass muster as a licensee (adult, no criminal record, no mental health history, no vision impairments) and presumably if he qualifies, his conviction could be overturned.

h/t Arms And The Law.

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