Interstate handgun purchase ban divides federal court
By Chris Eger
A decision not to grant a retrial in a challenge to the federal law barring handgun sales to out-of-state residents sparked intense debate in one of the nation’s federal appeals courts last week.
The judges on the U.S. 5th Circuit were divided on overturning a decision by a three-judge panel that supported the gun law earlier this year. They narrowly voted 8-7 against granting a rare en banc hearing by the full circuit.
The thin majority agreed that the longtime ban on selling handguns over the counter to out-of-state residents is in the public interest. The minority vehemently disagreed with the concept, which predated today’s modern instant criminal background check process, holding it was against the Second Amendment and was confusing when compared to the ability to sell rifles and shotguns without such prohibitions.
The legal challenge came from Andrew and Tracey Hanson from Washington, D.C. who tried to buy handguns from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Texas but could not due to a federal law adopted in the 1960s. Together with the FFL holder, Frederic Mance, the couple joined with gun rights advocates in taking the government on, arguing that since the advent of the National Instant Check System it makes