MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – A federal judge ruled that Washington’s ban on carrying guns in public was unconstitutional and allowed open carry for self-defense purposes, The Washington Post reported.
“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,” The Washington Post cited Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. as saying Sunday.
It was not clear if the order would come into effect immediately. It was also unclear whether the city would appeal before the ruling takes effect.
There have been numerous cases of registered gun owners committing crimes in the United States over the past few years, including the shootings in the Sandy Hook Elementary School and in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, both in 2012.
The supporters of a ruling argue however that carrying handguns for the purpose of self-defense will lead to a decrease in crimes.
“I believe the city is absolutely safer. Make no mistake about it. This is a fantastic improvement in public safety … Yes, we have a problem in America with gun violence. But no, that problem is not the result of law-abiding people carrying guns,” The Washington Post cited lawyer Alan Gura as saying.
In 2009, three District of Columbia residents, a New Hampshire resident and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation, filed the lawsuit challenging the city’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home.
In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down Washington’s total ban on gun ownership. Same year, the new Washington law denied carrying handguns outside the home and required owners to specify where exactly they kept their weapons.
According to The Guardian, the annual toll from firearms-related deaths in the US is running at 32,000 and climbing. Gun-related violence is one of the most controversial issues in the United States.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, over 67 percent of all homicides in the United States are conducted using a firearm.