A man whose lawsuit against the District of Columbia 14 years ago led to the Supreme Court’s recognition that the Second Amendment safeguards an individual right to own firearms, is suing the capital city again, this time over its strict limit on how much ammunition may accompany a person’s concealed handgun in public.
This new lawsuit (pdf) argues that a D.C. regulation preventing holders of concealed pistol carry licenses from carrying more than 20 rounds of ammunition at a time is unconstitutional. Such a limit violates the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit claims, because there is no historical precedent for it, and it interferes with the right of a concealed carrier to properly use a firearm for self-defense in any public confrontations that may arise.
A previous lawsuit by plaintiff Dick Heller against the D.C. government resulted in the high court’s landmark 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller that held that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” Two years later, the high court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that this right “is fully applicable to the States.”
The new lawsuit is one of several that have been filed nationwide after another landmark ruling by the Supreme Court on June 23 in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen that recognized a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion striking down New York’s public carry licensing system that required carry permit applicants to prove they had a special need for a firearm for self-defense.
The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit are Heller, Charles W. Nesby, and the Heller Foundation, Heller’s eponymous nonprofit that educates the public on Second Amendment issues. They are suing the District of Columbia and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee III. The lawsuit was filed on June 30 in the federal district court in Washington.