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In the 1960s, long before the National Instant Check System (NICS) was instituted, Congress passed a law banning the interstate purchasing or selling of handguns. A number of gun rights advocates claim that since NICS was established, it makes the ban unnecessary.

A couple in Washington DC tried to purchase a handgun from an outfit in Texas who does have a federal firearm license, but their purchase was blocked due to the 50-year-old law. They joined with other gun rights groups and challenged the legality of the law, using the argument that NICS should negate the need for the law.

However, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the ban.

( – A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit last week ruled the federal law prohibiting handgun sales to out-of-state residents is in the public interest.

The legal challenge came from a couple from Washington, D.C. who tried to buy handguns from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Texas but could not due to federal law adopted in the 1960s.

Together with a Texas FFL holder, 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 no sense to perpetuate a ban on interstate transfers of handguns. The court disagreed with that concept, holding that handguns often have additional regulatory pitfalls in many states, and that gun dealers can’t be expected to be familiar with those in distant areas.

“There are more than 123,000 FFLs nationwide,” wrote Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen for the majority…

Not all states have the same requirements for motor vehicles (California requires specific anti-pollution devices), but that doesn’t stop a person from buying a motor vehicle across state lines, and after all motor vehicles injure and kill far more people than guns do. Besides, anyone who purchases anything from another state is responsible to see that they comply with the laws in their own state, not the dealer from which they purchase anything. Hopefully, this case will be appealed to the US Supreme Court.



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