DC police launch voluntary handgun search program

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Washington DC police are launching a new voluntary program to reduce the number of guns in the city after the US Supreme Court ruled last month that a city ban on private handgun ownership violated the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Under the Safe Homes Initiative, police will ask residents for permission to search their homes for guns and residents will receive amnesty from prosecution for any weapons confiscated under the program. Critics allege that the program could amount to a violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure if homeowners are intimidated into allowing the searches. The Washington DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has distributed flyers advising DC residents of their constitutional rights.

Other cities are considering similar programs following the Supreme Court ruling. Gun ownership advocacy groups have filed lawsuits in Chicago and San Francisco seeking to overturn laws which ban handguns within those cities. In September 2007, Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and DC Attorney General Linda Singer ormally appealed a March 2007 federal court ruling which invalidated the District of Columbia's handgun ban . The Supreme Court affirmed a March DC Circuit holding that the city's 30-year-old ban on private possession of handguns was unconstitutionally broad.

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