BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has filed a lawsuit today in federal court in Texas against Attorney General Eric Holder and B. Todd Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, challenging the current federal law prohibiting cross-state handgun purchases.
CCRKBA brings this lawsuit on behalf of its members throughout the country, who would legally buy and sell handguns outside of their home states, just as they currently do with long guns. Joining CCRKBA as plaintiffs in the case are Texas resident Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., and Tracey Ambeau Hanson and Andrew Hanson, both of Washington, D.C. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth division. Financial assistance for the lawsuit is provided by the Second Amendment Foundation.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, noting that his organization rarely pursues a legal action of such magnitude, said today’s lawsuit is necessary to advance the right to keep and bear arms for all citizens. He said current law essentially criminalizes the interstate handgun market, which does not apply to the sale of rifles or shotguns.
“It is overreaching, if not downright silly, in today’s environment with the federal instant background check system to perpetuate a prohibition on interstate handgun purchases that has outlived its usefulness,” Gottlieb observed. “If a law-abiding citizen can clear a background check and legally purchase a handgun in his own state, he would pass the same background check just across the border in another state.”
This is very important to District of Columbia residents, who can now legally purchase rifles and shotguns from federally-licensed gun dealers in neighboring states, but they still may not purchase handguns. Plaintiff Mance is a federally licensed firearms dealer who would sell handguns directly to consumers in other states, but under current law, he is prohibited from doing so. The Hansons are fully qualified under federal law, and laws in Texas and the District of Columbia, to purchase and possess handguns.
“Federal law allows for interstate long gun sales,” Gottlieb noted, “as long as the dealer follows the law, so what’s the logic of the federal government banning interstate handgun sales? Some states allow for, or even welcome, interstate handgun sales, so what’s the federal government doing?”