DISTRICT BRIEFING

DISTRICT BRIEFING

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SUPREME COURT GUN CASE

City Asks Appeals Court To Preserve Rifle Rule

Attorneys for the District government told a federal appeals court yesterday that the city's requirement that shotguns and rifles be kept unloaded or outfitted with trigger locks should remain in effect until the Supreme Court decides whether it will consider the constitutionality of the gun law.

This spring, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down as a violation of the Second Amendment the city's virtual ban on handguns and a related provision on how rifles and shotguns must be stored in private homes. However, the court kept the law in effect while the city appealed.

Attorneys for the residents who challenged the law pointed out that the city's petition asked the court to consider whether "the District of Columbia's longstanding law banning handguns but authorizing private possession of rifles and shotguns violates the Second Amendment." The residents' attorney said the city was, in effect, conceding the unconstitutionality of what they called the "functional firearms ban."

District attorneys denied that, saying that the city has recognized that residents may keep rifles and shotguns as a form of self-defense but that the law "is more fairly characterized as a safe-storage provision."

They said it would be premature to act before the Supreme Court has decided whether to review the appeals court decision.

-- Robert Barnes

SOUTHEAST FIRE

Death of Woman, 74, Is Tied To Smoking-Related Accident

D.C. fire officials said yesterday that a smoking-related accident led to the death of a 74-year-old woman in a fire in Southeast Washington.

The fire was discovered about 6:45 p.m. Saturday in an apartment in the 2700 block of Texas Avenue. Authorities identified the woman yesterday as Lillian Steele and said that she died in bed.


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