D.C. wants more time to consider gun laws

WASHINGTON – Ninety days is not long enough.

The District has asked for more time to sort out its gun laws and consider an appeal following a judge’s overturning of the handgun ban in public.

The ruling has already been put on hold for 90 days. A court filing this week seeks to effectuate a 180-day stay of the ruling.

The request underscores both the suddenness of the original ruling and the scramble to meet its demands.

In July, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. threw out D.C.’s ban on handguns in public places. He said it violated the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Under the 90-day stay, the D.C. Council would have to move quickly before the Oct. 22 deadline. The Council is not in session again until September.

Monday’s filing seeks more wiggle room as lawmakers consider a path that may involve rewriting the gun law, appealing the ruling or both.

“Six months gives us enough time to look carefully at what other jurisdictions have done to sort out the different approaches and get it as good as we can get it,” says Phil Mendelson, the Council Chairman.

Public Safety Committee chair Tommy Wells, Ward 6, told the Washington Post that lawmakers are looking to gun laws in New York and Maryland as a model.

Mendelson believes the D.C.’s gun law will require changes, but he also describes the judge’s ruling as broad and a likely target for appeal.

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