SOURCE: Fish & Richardson

February 11, 2015 16:42 ET

Texas Federal Court Finds Interstate Handgun Sales Ban Unconstitutional

Handgun Sellers, Buyers Prevail in Cross-State Sales Battle

FORT WORTH, TX--(Marketwired - Feb 11, 2015) - A Texas federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional the existing federal ban on the interstate transfer of handguns.

In the Feb. 11 decision, Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas found that 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3), 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(3), and 27 C.F.R. § 478.99(a) violate the 2nd  Amendment right to keep and bear arms and the 5th Amendment's Due Process Clause. The statutes at issue require that interstate sales of handguns be made through federally licensed firearms dealers. Sales of shotguns and other long guns do not face such restrictions.

Attorney William B. "Bill" Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas and Alan Gura of Alexandria, Virginia's Gura & Possessky successfully represented the plaintiffs in the case: a Texas firearms dealer, two gun buyers and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Plaintiffs Andrew and Tracey Hanson of Washington, DC, approached federally licensed firearms dealer Frederic Russell Mance Jr. of Arlington, Texas, last year to purchase two handguns. However, in order to do so, Mr. Mance was required by federal statute to transfer both guns to a federally licensed firearms dealer for pickup in the District of Columbia. In addition to a $125 transfer fee for each gun, the Hansons also were required to pay for shipping and other associated costs.

Mr. Mance and the Hansons responded by suing then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones, alleging that the federal restrictions violated the U.S. Constitution.

"This case involved an important Constitutional question," says Mr. Mateja. "While we expect the government to appeal, we are confident that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will agree with Judge O'Connor's sound ruling.

"There simply was no reason to differentiate between handguns on the one hand, and shotguns and long guns on the other," added Mr. Gura. "Today's ruling will protect the 2nd Amendment rights of gun buyers and gun sellers alike."

Contact Information

  • For more information on the court's ruling, please contact
    Bruce Vincent
    800-559-4534 office
    214-728-6747 cell
    Email Contact