A federal district judge Saturday ruled a Washington D.C. ordinance that prohibits carrying a hand gun outside the home is unconstitutional.

An appeals seems likely, though it’s not immediately clear if one is planned. This is only a district judge’s ruling, but this language is worthy of note anywhere in the U.S. should it come to be upheld.


In a 19-page opinion, Judge Frederick Scullin ruled on Saturday that “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.

“Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”

According to a Washington Post account, Scullin said he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism.

The Saturday release of the ruling meant analysis is in short supply. Does it mean there’s no way under the Constitution in the judge’s view to limit carrying a handgun? Or does it mean it is possible to impose licensing for carry?

More to come. But it was a happy day for the gun lobby whatever the fine points might be.