Twelve years ago, Washington D.C. resident and security guard Dick Heller joined a group of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the district with the goal of simply regaining the Second Amendment rights of residents. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit finally issued a ruling in the case, now commonly called Heller III.
As we previously reported, the court struck down four provisions of the D.C. firearms law challenged by the suit. The court overturned a restriction limiting the registration of handguns to one per month, it struck down the three-year re-registration requirement for all firearms, and invalidated the requirement that individuals physically bring firearms to police headquarters for registration. The court also struck down the requirement that applicants pass a test on D.C. gun laws, citing the lack of any public safety benefit.
This Q&A with Heller at America’s 1st Freedom website reveals a long oddessy that cost him a boat, a plane, and a good portion of his life.
Heller downplays the victory a bit, saying that even though four parts of the firearms laws were struck down, six provisions also included in the suit were upheld by the court.
“I think the most important thing is they’ve skewed a simple registration process and split it into 10 or 11 parcels to pick apart,”Heller told America’s 1st Freedom. “We still have to be registered and fingerprinted, the worst part is we will still be treated like criminals, but the criminals won’t be standing in line to get in,” Heller said. “On the positive side, the big win is we do not have to re-register our firearm every three years, and accidentally become a paper criminal by forgetting. Number two would be the once-gun-a-month restriction is now gone.”
Heller says the fight for gun rights across the nation is a continuing struggle. He has set up the HellerFoundation.org to focus on “aggressively advocating in court for citizens who have inadvertently run afoul of, or been ensnared by, any of the nearly 5,000 federal government apparatchik laws,” and that people can donate to help the cause.