The District of Columbia on November 17, 2016, presented Arsenal Attorneys with a check in the amount of $94,121.79, representing payment of attorneys’ fees and costs for the firm's successful challenge to DC’s ban on Tasers and stun guns.
Arsenal Attorneys, on behalf of three District of Columbia residents, last August sued the District of Columbia over its electronic weapons ban. The Complaint in Wright v. District of Columbia can be found here. Arsenal then filed a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking an order from the court to lift the ban while the case progressed. The memorandum of law in support of that motion, minus the voluminous exhibits, can be found here.
In September, the District entered into a stipulation agreeing to allow our clients to possess electronic weapons in their homes. In return we agreed to stay the case for 90 days to allow DC time to repeal the ban on electronic weapons. The court in turn issued an order adopting that stipulation. The stipulation provided for the District to pay our attorneys’ fees.
Currently, pending before the DC City Council is a bill that would repeal the electronic weapons ban. We have been informed by knowledgeable Council insiders that the bill is likely to be passed with few, if any restrictions beyond a prohibition on carry of electronic weapons into schools and a prohibition on possession by persons under 18. It is likely that the repeal of the ban will be accomplished before the end of the year, subject of course to Congress’s review.
"We were prepared to litigate this case pro bono in fulfillment of our ethical duty as lawyers to improve the law," said Managing Attorney Matthew Bergstrom, "However," he continued, "the court's order for the payment of our fees could teach jurisdictions like the District of Columbia of their own duty to uphold and defend the Constitution in its entirety."
"Already our efforts have borne fruit beyond DC," said George L. Lyon, Arsenal Attorneys' lead counsel in Wright v. District of Columbia. "After our DC lawsuit was filed, residents of New Jersey sued the state to overturn its ban on electronic weapons." Their complaint substantially mirrors the complaint Arsenal Attorneys filed in the Wright case. The odds are overwhelming that they will prevail in overturning New Jersey’s ban on Tasers and stun guns. Just last week, in a different New Jersey case, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office admitted that New Jersey’s electronic weapons ban is unconstitutional."
Stun gun bans remain in effect in New York, Rhode Island and Hawaii, as well as in several jurisdictions in Maryland, and a few other municipalities around the country. Arsenal Attorneys are seeking plaintiffs to challenge electronic weapons bans in Annapolis, Baltimore City and County and Howard County. If you live in those areas and are interested in serving as a plaintiff to challenge the ban, contact Arsenal Attorneys at 703-291-3312.
Arsenal Attorneys' practice firearms law in over 40 states. Our firm represents individual gun owners, gun dealeres, and firearms and ammunition manufacturers. Our team of attorneys have experience as prosecutors, law enforcement officers, firearms instructors, and litigants in landmark Second Amendment cases. We are particularly renowned for our Arsenal Gun Trust solution as an estate plan for firearms and a safer and easier solution for handling and inheriting firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Our lawyers have delivered legal training to the legal profession on behalf of the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. Our work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, and numerous other print, TV and radio media. While we concentrate on firearms related issues, Arsenal Attorneys offer many of the same services of a general practice law firm, including criminal defense, estate planning, business law, civil litigation, and more.
Are you interested in updating, amending or revising your NFA gun trust? Perhaps you need to change your address or add/remove trustees. Or perhaps you just want your trust updated to comply with the new rules for NFA firearms, known as 41F. We can take care of all these changes at once by preparing what’s called a ‘restatement’ of your trust.
Arsenal Attorneys™ can update almost any NFA gun trust nationwide. We recommend a ‘restatement’ of your trust using our new Arsenal Gun Trust™ designed for ATF’s new regulations. In legal parlance, a ‘restatement’ is a complete revision of your trust. Effectively it is an amendment of your entire trust. Legally, the restatement would be the same as your original trust, and your original NFA tax stamps would remain valid.
There are at least five reasons why you should request a restatement of your gun trust from Arsenal Attorneys™.
In conclusion, how do you decide whether to get a restatement? You can probably find the answer in your gut. For example, have recent changes in ATF regulations discouraged you from registering new NFA firearms? Are you concerned your gun collection will cause headaches for your loved ones when you’re gone? Do you have questions, but no one will give you a straight answer? If you have felt this way, contact us.
Arsenal Attorneys™ have served thousands of clients nationwide. Our Arsenal Gun Trust™ is designed to help you and your loved ones register, handle, and inherit firearms, particularly those regulated by the National Firearms Act, such as silencers, short barrel rifles, and machine guns. Our firm consists over 27 attorneys licensed to serve the more than 40 states which recognize the right to own NFA firearms. Additionally, we have represented small and large businesses, US presidential campaigns, plaintiffs in Second Amendment litigation, criminal defendants, families requesting estate plans, and more. From our office near Washington, DC we offer high caliber services for reasonable fees. Contact us to discuss your questions today.
Arsenal Attorneys™ hosted a presentation by law professor Ilya Somin from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. Professor Somin delivered a presentation of the new edition of his book “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter.”
Professor Somin teaches constitutional law and property. He is also a scholar of the CATO Institute and a frequent blogger for the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy.
He has testified before the US Congress twice: once on the subject of drone warfare and once on the subject of Sonia Sotomayor's record on property rights, during hearings for her nomination as a Supreme Court justice. Professor Somin has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, National Review, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and the Daily Caller.
He is the author of The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain, which expands on his work on property rights. He is co-author of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case. Professor Somin is also co-editor of Eminent Domain in Comparative Perspective.
Ilya Somin was born in the Soviet Union, where his family were subject to material poverty and political indoctrination. At age 5, his family emigrated to America.
To purchase a copy of "Democracy and Political Ignorance" at a special discount, contact Arsenal Attorneys at 703-291-3312.
The government of the District of Columbia confirmed it will not enforce its stun-gun ban against three residents represented by Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon. Our clients, a political blogger, a nurse and an armed-robbery victim, challenged the stun-gun ban as an unconstitutional infringement of their Second Amendment rights. Additionally, the DC Council has signaled it will voluntarily repeal its stun-gun ban, albeit under pressure from our clients’ lawsuit. The litigation of this case has halted for 90 days to allow DC to enact the legislation necessary for the repeal.
In comments to the Washington Post, George Lyon said these developments were “a first step to greater Second Amendment rights for D.C. residents.” He added, “I think they have effectively conceded that the ban is unconstitutional. They did not contest my showing that my clients were likely to prevail on the merits.”
An excerpt from a report on this case by Washington Times reporter Andrea Noble follows.
D.C. lawmakers are moving to repeal a ban on ownership of stun guns after residents challenged the law’s constitutionality in a federal lawsuit.
Attorneys representing the city agreed this week to a stipulation that allows the three D.C. residents who filed the lawsuit to obtain and possess Tasers in their homes.
The lawsuit will be placed on hold while the D.C. Council considers legislation that would make it legal for residents to possess and carry stun guns and also do away with the city’s requirement that people register pepper spray with the Metropolitan Police Department.
Stun guns are banned in five states as well as numerous cities and municipalities, though such laws are likely to come under increased scrutiny as Second Amendment supporters broaden their attacks on regulations that limit self-defense options.
Attorney George Lyon, who is representing the three residents challenging the law, filed the lawsuit this summer after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling brought into question the legality of a Massachusetts ban on stun gun ownership.
Mr. Lyon said the Supreme Court ruling, which threw out a Massachusetts court ruling upholding a woman’s criminal conviction for carrying a stun gun in violation of state law, “made it pretty clear that it’s going to be difficult to justify prohibiting owning a Taser or a stun gun.”
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson agreed with the assessment and introduced legislation to do away with the city’s stun gun ban on Sept. 20.
“We have a complete ban on stun guns right now, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that the ban would not hold up,” Mr. Mendelson said.
A spokesman for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine declined to discuss the reason why the city opted to pursue legislation over litigation, noting that the lawsuit is still pending.
On Monday U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued an order in the case stating that “the parties have worked out an agreement to accommodate the named plaintiffs while the Council for the District of Columbia enacts new legislation relevant to this case.”
As part of the agreement, the District admits no liability or wrongdoing, and the three plaintiffs in the case — a conservative blogger, an armed robbery victim and a nurse who works night shifts — will be allowed to obtain and possess Tasers at their homes while the legislation is debated.
“The city made no attempt to defend the constitutionality of the law,” Mr. Lyon said.
Legislation introduced by Mr. Mendelson and Kenyan McDuffie, chairman of the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee, would make possession of a stun gun legal to those over the age of 18 and use of the devices legal only “in the exercise of reasonable force in defense of person or property.” It also would require venders who sell more than five stun guns or self-defense spray canisters a year to register with police.
As it’s currently written, Mr. Lyon said he would not have any objections to the proposal.
“If the bill is substantially restricted, we will have something to fight about,” the attorney said.
As the bill works its way through the legislative process, Mr. Mendelson said he’s unsure whether D.C. police or the city attorney general will “be comfortable” with the current draft or suggest changes.
“The bill goes very far toward deregulating stun guns,” the council leader said, noting there is no requirement to register a device with police. “My view is that stun guns are not lethal in the same way firearms are. Therefore, a regulatory scheme similar to firearms is more difficult to rationalize.”
The District’s firearms laws are considered among the strictest in the country, with gun owners required to register their weapons with police and take training courses. To obtain a concealed carry permit, handgun owners must demonstrate a “good reason” in order to qualify.
The Supreme Court’s March ruling did not overturn the Massachusetts ban on stun guns outright. But Second Amendment advocates say it did lay the groundwork for challenges to other bans of nonlethal items meant for self-defense.
The ruling rejected the arguments invoked by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in which judges ruled that stun guns were not protected under the Second Amendment because they “were not in common use at the time of the Second Amendment’s enactment.” The case was sent back to the lower court, where the charges were eventually dropped.
[End of Excerpt]
Connect with Arsenal Attorneys on Social Networks
10521 Judicial Drive, Suite 200
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Additional Locations in Virginia and District of Columbia.