The Second Amendment Foundation released this information on the suit against Eric Holder and the head of the Virginia State Police around 4:45pm EDT.
If you listened to Tom Gresham’s GunTalk interview with Alan Gottlieb on May 1st, it becomes clear that Alan was telegraphing SAF’s next move. He discussed the implications of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s ruling in Dearth v. Holder in which the court said that a citizen couldn’t be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they didn’t have legal residence in a state. In that case, Mr. Dearth was a U.S. citizen living abroad and was precluded from buying a firearm because he didn’t have a state of residence. Alan said he thought the Dearth decision laid the groundwork for challenging that part of the Gun Control Act of 1968 which required residency in a state.
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in U.S. District Court in Virginia challenging the constitutionality of federal and Virginia provisions barring handgun sales to non-residents.
SAF is joined in the lawsuit by Michelle Lane, a District of Columbia resident who cannot legally purchase handguns because there are no retail firearms dealers inside the District. The Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller ruling struck down the District’s handgun ban, confirming that individuals have a constitutional right to possess handguns.
SAF and Lane are represented by attorney Alan Gura of Gura & Possessky, PLLC, who won both the Heller ruling and last year’s Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago. Named as defendants are Attorney General Eric Holder and W. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police.
“This is an important issue in the era of the national instant background check,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The NICS check should allow law-abiding citizens like Miss Lane to exercise their Second Amendment rights regardless their place of residence.”
“Americans don’t check their constitutional rights at the state line,” said Gura. “And since Michelle Lane is legally entitled to possess firearms, forcing her to seek a non-existing D.C. dealer to buy a handgun is pointless when perfectly legitimate options exist minutes across the Potomac River.”
“The Supreme Court has ruled that District residents have an individual right, protected by the Constitution, to have a handgun in their home,” Gottlieb noted. “The high court has also ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states. Existing state and federal statutes violate both the spirit and letter of recent court rulings and the Constitution, and our lawsuit seeks to remedy that situation.”
UPDATE: Here is a link to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case is Lane et al v. Holder et al.