On Feb. 11, a federal judge struck down a ban involving interstate handgun transfers. In the case of Mance v. Holder, the judge applied the legal standard of “strict scrutiny” to determine whether a ban on such transfers is constitutional. It isn’t. The decision could have far-reaching ramifications.
Mance v. Holder involved individual plaintiffs residing in the District of Columbia and Texas and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
The plaintiff for which the suit was named is Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., a federally licensed firearms dealer in Arlington, Texas, and District of Columbia residents Andrew and Tracey Hanson. All are members of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which was also a plaintiff and which funded the suit. “Holder” in the suit name is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; also named as a defendant was BATFE Director B. Todd Jones.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, wrote, “(T)he Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.” “The federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unique compared to other firearms restrictions because it does not target certain people (such as felons or the mentally ill), conduct (such as carrying firearms into government buildings or schools), or distinctions among certain classes of firearms (such as fully automatic weapons or magazine capacity),” O’Connor wrote, adding the ban “targets the entire national market of handgun sales and directly burdens law-abiding, responsible citizens who seek to complete otherwise lawful transactions for handguns.” Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas represented CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs.
“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” Gura said. “Americans would never tolerate a ban on the interstate sale of books or contraceptives. And Americans are free to buy rifles and shotguns outside their state of residence, so long as the dealers respect the laws of the buyer’s home state. We’re gratified that the court agreed that handguns should be treated no differently.”