FEDERAL COURT STRIKES DOWN PART OF 1964           GUN CONTROL ACT

by Dave Tryon

On February 11, 2015 a Federal District Court (Judge Reed C. O’Connor) in Texas struck down part of the Gun Control Act of 1964 (the “GCA”).  This is a victory for the U.S. Constitution.  The 1964 GCA allows a citizen of one state or territory (say D.C.) to go to a second state (Texas) and buy a rifle or shotgun in that state and then drive home with it.  But, the same person cannot buy a handgun in that state and then take it home (the “Pistol Purchase Prohibition”).  Instead, the purchaser essentially would have to arrange for a licensed firearms dealer in D.C. to buy the handgun from the dealer in Texas, pay to have it shipped to that licensed firearms dealer back in D.C. who then delivers it to the buyer when he/she gets back to D.C., - - upon receipt of the purchase price plus another fee, usually about $100.
 
The Court held that the Pistol Purchase Prohibition is unconstitutional and issued an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the provision.  Congress initially passed this law because in 1964 handguns were considered the most used firearms in crimes and this was a way to prevent people from evading laws prohibiting them from buying a pistol in their own state by driving across the border.  Since 1964, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment is a fundamental individual right and that any law restricting that right has to be narrowly tailored to meet the purpose of the law.  Also, technology has changed and the Brady Bill now requires instant background checks for all firearms purchases, thus enabling the dealer in Texas to do a background check on the D.C. purchaser in real time.  Given the changes in the law and technology since 1964, the Pistol Purchase Prohibition is no longer narrowly tailored enough to meet the goal of the legislation and it is unconstitutional.  The case is Mance v. Holder, USDC ND Texas, case no. 4:14-cv-539-O.   [The case is now on appeal, but the injunction remains in place.]  A more extensive discussion of the case by another commentator and the District Court’s opinion are available here: 
http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/02/federal-court-handgun-transfer-ban-unconstitutional/
 
Not many people in Ohio try to buy guns across state lines, but in smaller states they might.  It remains to be seen if dealers will sell across state lines until all appeals on this issue are completed and ATF issues new regulations  – which will not happen any time soon. 
 
Dave Tryon, Esq.
Partner, PorterWright.
Former School Board President, Brecksville/Broadview Hts.