Update — On January 19, 2018, the Fifth Circuit issued a favorable decision siding with the position Giffords Law Center advocated for in our amicus brief. The court upheld the federal law prohibiting handgun sales to out-of-state residents, finding that “there is a compelling government interest in preventing circumvention of the handgun laws of various states.” The Fifth Circuit panel was made up of three judges who were appointed to that court by President George W. Bush.
Case Information: Mance v. Lynch, No. 15-10311 (5th Cir. Brief Filed July 20, 2015)
At Issue: Plaintiffs in this case argue that the federal laws requiring out-of-state handgun purchases to be completed through an in-state federal firearms licensee (“FFL”) violate the Second Amendment. In other words, the challenged laws require a person wishing to buy a handgun in another state to have the purchase completed by an FFL that operates in their state of residence. Plaintiffs in this case are residents of the District of Columbia and wanted to purchase a firearm in Texas, but did not do so because of the extra costs associated with the in-state FFL requirement. The district court for the Northern District of Texas found that this requirement unduly restricts access to firearm markets and therefore violates the Second Amendment. The case is now on appeal before the Fifth Circuit.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our amicus brief argues that the challenged federal laws are compatible with the Second Amendment because they place such a small burden on a citizen’s ability to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense. The brief argues that laws imposing background checks and regulating large capacity ammunition magazines are “presumptively lawful” and not protected at all by the Second Amendment. Even if these regulations implicate the Second Amendment, both provisions survive constitutional scrutiny because they are reasonably related to the important governmental objective of protecting public safety and the safety of law enforcement officers.